Along with your heart pumping blood, breathing oxygen into our lungs is the most common form of exercise our body performs. From the moment we’re born, the average human takes about 20,000 breathes per day. Needless to say, our lungs are absolutely critical to our body’s very survival
And just like any other important muscle in our body, the respiratory system must also be conditioned through additional exercise so they can stay healthy and strong for the rest of our lives.
Although it’s actually your diaphragm muscle that performs the movement of breathing, it’s the lungs that receive oxygen through your mouth, transfer it into your bloodstream and then expel waste carbon dioxide out. It’s a complex system, but one that works even harder when your exercising.
When you’re physically active, your muscles require even more oxygen to function properly. That’s why you feel a burning sensation and subsequent fatigue in your muscles when you’re exerting energy. This sensation occurs because your muscles are using up oxygen faster than your blood can replace it.
If we exercise too much too fast, we can even become winded and have to stop. Our blood is literally out of oxygen.
And just like how strength conditioning makes your muscles stronger, exercise also makes your lungs and respiratory system stronger. The stronger and fitter you get, the better your body gets at pumping oxygen into the bloodstream and bringing it to muscles that are working out. The more your exercise and train your lungs, the longer you can run and jump rope without getting winded.
The most important exercises you can perform for your respiratory system are aerobic. These exercises demand more oxygen be brought into your bloodstream, so be sure to make these part of your weekly workout.
Movements such as the Sprint, Box Jump, and Wall Balls will all get your lungs sucking in extra oxygen and conditioning your capacity for greater and longer endurance.
Joel Runyon is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE® - performance lifestyle brand encompassing performance apparel & formulas, IMPOSSIBLE Fitness® programs, and a philanthropy arm. An endurance athlete and entrepreneur - he's also the creator of MoveWellApp and owns Ultimate Meal Plans. Find out what next challenge Joel is crossing off his impossible list here.