By: Northwestern Medicine Health & Fitness Staff
Our lungs are very responsive to the conditioning effects of regular physical exercise. Swimming is a great option for improving lung health according to a recent article by U.S. Masters Swimming.
1. Improved Capacity and Endurance
Swimming supports increased lung capacity and endurance. When your heart rate climbs during a tough workout, that’s a response to your body’s need for more oxygen. That oxygen is supplied by your lungs, and causes you to breathe harder during exercise. Your lungs get better at meeting these demands as you train consistently, and that can result in some structural adaptations—such as an increased lung capacity—over time.
2. Increased Breath-Holding Capability
Swimmers have to time their breaths with their stroke and have a limited instant in which to capture the air needed. This means your body has to adapt and get used to waiting a little longer, which can build breath endurance.
3. Asthma Symptoms Reduced
Asthma is a condition that narrows airways. Swimming can reduce the problematic symptoms of asthma by building up breath capacity and endurance. Plus, breathing in warm, humid air often found in indoor natatoriums has long been thought to be helpful for keeping your lungs supple and your airways open.
4. Build Core Strength
Swimming strengthens your core as a whole. Every time you breathe in or out, your muscles help push that air where it needs to go. Studies have shown that people who swim and practice breath control have stronger respiratory muscles.
5. Support Your Spine and Posture
Standing or sitting up straight helps you get more air into your lungs. That air is then processed by your lungs and used to propel your body through the day and all your many tasks. Swimming is an excellent way to support good posture because it can alleviate back pain and make your core stronger.
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