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How to Increase Lung Capacity in 5 Easy Steps

27 Jul 2016
| Under Exercise, Lifestyle, Tips | Posted by | 13 Comments
How to Increase Lung Capacity in 5 Easy Steps

When you have a chronic lung disease, such as pulmonary fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), having enough oxygenated blood can be challenging. For people with lung disease, lung function and lung capacity can diminish over time. Lung function is a metric determined by how much air your lungs can hold, how quickly you can take in and let out air from your lungs and how well your lungs oxygenate and remove carbon dioxide from your blood. Lung capacity differs from lung function because lung capacity is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use. Simply put, lung function is how your body uses air while lung capacity is how much air your body can use. While lung function cannot be improved, lung capacity can be controlled and improved. So, here are some tips on how to increase lung capacity.

5. Vitamins

Some studies have shown that people with COPD may benefit from taking certain vitamins, such as vitamin D. When vitamin D is added to the treatment plan and used in addition to standard rehabilitation, some people showed improvement in exercise capacity and respiratory muscle strength. The theory behind using vitamin D is that it helps reduce inflammation, which is a key issue in COPD. Some patients saw a reduction of severity and duration of flare-up symptoms with continued vitamin D use.

4. Having Self-Confidence

A study showed that self-confidence can play a key role in how well COPD patients respond to exercise. For this study, researchers divided participants into three groups. One group performed only upper-body resistance exercises, and the second group that performed did gentle armchair exercises and health education. The third group performed upper-body resistance exercises and participated in a self-confidence building program. The group that did both upper-body exercises and the self-confidence building program showed the most progress at the end of the study. Keeping a positive attitude and having self-confidence can help people improve their mood and outlook, which can help you stay motivated on your path to increasing your lung capacity.

3. Clean Home

Dust, airborne indoor pollutants, chemical fumes and more can cause symptom flare-ups, so keeping a clean home is important. Consider getting rid of dust collecting items such as window treatments, carpet and curtains. Place your mattresses and pillow cases in dust mite proof zippered cases, and wash your sheets and bedding at high temperatures. Be mindful of temperature and air quality reports. When the outdoor air quality is poor, keep your windows closed. If you decide to use indoor air purifiers, HEPA filters as well as natural air purifiers are good choices.

If cleaning or performing daily activities is challenging for you, it’s okay to hire someone to clean your home with non-toxic, fragrance-free cleaners. While your home is being cleaned, enjoy a meal with a loved one.

2. Improving Exercise Tolerance

How to Increase Lung Capacity in 5 Easy Steps

Another way to increase lung capacity is to improve exercise tolerance. Exercise causes your heart and breathing rates to increase, so your body has enough oxygen and strengthens your heart and lungs. The average person’s lung capacity can be improved around 5 percent to 15 percent even with frequent workouts. Many experts recommend some form of physical exercise at least three times a week. Some doctors may prescribe pulmonary rehabilitation, which combines exercise, education and support. Talk with your doctor before starting or changing your current exercise program and to develop the best plan for you.

1. Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are an excellent way to increase lung capacity. For many people with a chronic lung disease, shortness of breath presents many challenges. When you’re relaxed, your body is naturally able to breathe more easily. Talk with your doctor about these breathing exercises and work with him or her to modify them for your specific needs.

  • Pushing Out: With your feet flat on the ground and with an upright posture, keep your knees relaxed and bend over from the waist. Push the air out of your lungs, and then slowly return to an upright position. Inhale slowly and allow your lungs to comfortably fill with as much air as possible. Hold your breath for 20 seconds. However, if 20 seconds is too long, pick a timing that you can manage. While counting, lift your arms over your head. Relax and then lower your arms as you exhale slowly. Complete this cycle four times.
  • Rib Stretch: Stand upright and exhale all the air from your lungs. Slowly breathe in, and expand your lungs to the maximum capacity. Hold the air for about 20 seconds or what is comfortable for you. While counting, place both hands on your hips with your thumbs facing front with pinkies touching the small of your back. Exhale the air slowly, relax and repeat three more times.
  • Abdominal Breathing: Lay in a comfortable position on your back, and rest one hand on top of your abdomen. Rest the other hand on your chest. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your mid-section. The hand on your stomach will rise higher than the one on your chest. Exhale slowly from the mouth and inhale slowly from the nose, holding your breath for seven seconds if possible. Then, when you exhale, breathe out for eight seconds. Make sure to squeeze your abdominal muscles near the end, so you exhale all the air. Breathe this way for five cycles.

Start Today to Increase Lung Capacity

The best time to make a positive change is now, so after talking with your doctor, give these 5 easy tips a try. It will take time to increase lung capacity, so remember to stay optimistic. Having self-confidence and practicing positive self-talk will help you achieve your goal of breathing easier. In combination with these tips to increase lung capacity, cellular therapy can help promote healing within the lungs. If you or a loved one has COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or another chronic lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help. Contact us at (800) 729-3065 to learn more about cellular therapy options.


  1. Lung Institute

    4 months ago


    We are very sorry to hear about your condition. We aren’t really qualified to determine if the breathing exercises would be helpful for kyphoscoliosis. We would suggest discussing this with your primary doctor or specialist.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular treatment for chronic lung diseases, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  2. Theresa

    4 months ago

    Are these exercises good for restrictive breathing due to severe kypho-scoliosos? I am on a bipap 31 years now and on SupplemenTal oxygen.

  3. Lung Institute

    5 months ago


    Thank you for your comment. For someone with COPD exercise can be very important. Depending on your stage of COPD, the type of exercise or intensity of exercise can fluctuate. But, the basics are that, the better shape you can maintain, the better you will be. Also, exercise can help you learn to breath better and help with difficult situations.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular therapy, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  4. Linda brown

    5 months ago

    Thank you . I am a cOpd patient for four years and did not know exercise was that important thanks

  5. Lung Institute

    5 months ago


    Thank you for your comment and we are very happy to hear about your son’s improved health. We encourage anyone with a lung disease or asthma type symptoms to explore options and we hope, like you did, that they can find one that offers improvement. Again, thank you for sharing your story.


    The Lung Institute


    5 months ago


  7. Lung Institute

    7 months ago


    Kudos for your great efforts to stay healthy after being diagnosed with COPD. You are correct in that exercise has a very beneficial effect for COPD patients, though not everyone is able to participate in a program.

    We would suggest you contact your primary physician and see if the clinic or hospital might be interested in developing a program for COPD sufferers. Also, you might contact your local YMCA or health/fitness club. Many of them like to offer specialty classes for their members or to attract new members.

    If you are interested in learning more about cellular treatment options and have your questions answered by one of our patient coordinators, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  8. Lung Institute

    7 months ago


    Our advice is to see your primary physician. You have taken a great first step by quitting smoking. Research shows that your lungs begin healing as soon as you stop but, depending on how long you smoked, it could take time.

    You can learn more about cellular treatment options and have your questions answered by one of our patient coordinators. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute


    9 months ago

    This is great information. thank you so much.

  10. Charles Ellis

    10 months ago

    I was diagnosed as haviNg copd I walk at least 2 miles a day and upTo 6 miles. I lift 5 lb weiGhts with a high amount of reps. I do have a positive attitude. When I mention my program to my doctor (s) they are very surprised, they say most copd patients do not exercise. I would like to shaRe or teach a class, i know what i am doing would help many. I am 68 years old and have had copd as diagnosed for aLmost 10 years. Any suggestions ?

  11. Laane

    10 months ago

    I have been diagnosed with COPD, I have just quit smoking. Will my shortness of breath and COPD flares improve?

  12. PB

    2 years ago

    Dear Charlotte,

    Thanks for your comment. We’re glad this information is helpful for you. Keep checking-in with our blog to read articles on a variety of topics.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  13. charlotte bey

    2 years ago

    This is great information, Thank you!

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