Lung Capacity

I have to blame myself for my poor lung capacity first. I was a smoker (a good one at that, 20 cigs a day!) and have quit smoking around September last year… Since then I ran a half marathon and had horrible timings… I struggle for breath when I increase the pace or sustain pace for longer duration…

Does anybody have some suggestions for increasing lung capacity? Any suggestions would be great, thanks!

Congrats. No cig since September. That’s cool stuff. For lung capacity. You need a swimming pool.

If you have asthma or COPD, you may want to consider Advair. I developed a mild asthma while in business school because it gets pretty cold in the northeast, and it was a persistent problem until I started taking asthma. I’m still looking for ways to improve my respiration but find that I’m still able to play semi-competitive tennis matches and do triathlons, even if my peak flow isn’t as good as it used to be.

Other ways to increase lung capacity – cardio in warm climates and swimming (indoors). Exercising in cold weather when your lung capacity is reduced is going to do more harm than good.

What’s your BMI?

Run a lot it, it sounds like you are not in shape. Your lung capacity will increase the more you train. Running 1 half marathon is not much of a feet. I run one every other weekend just for basic training purposes - your average young person could go out and run one right now if he wanted to even if they haven’t run once in the past year.

You should be able to run a half marathon in under 1:45 if you are in shape.

By the way, I know plenty of chain smoking marathon runners. My marathon partner is a chain smoker and he beat my ass this year running it in under 3:45. Lit up the moment he got to the finish. So I wouldn’t blame your smoking in the past unless you have been smoking for 50 years and are emphysimc. If you’ve only been smoking for 10-15 your lungs are just fine. You’re just out of shape.

Run everyday. Do different distances at different speeds. Try “interval training” google that. Bike. Swim. It depends on your goals. But for the most part just do shit loads of cardio.

Thanks folks…

I am not quite young, I am going to be 35 soon!! And yeah CT, I do run every other weekend - around 10-15K. I dont do a half marathon quite often as I did have a recent occurence of Ligament tear and Knee Tendonitis! So a little more complicated and Yes I agree may be I am just COMPLETELY OUT OF SHAPE :frowning: Since I have been smoking these 20 Cigs a day for the past 7-8 years only! And to complicate further, my family does have a history of Asthma!!!

But yeah I already do feel better in life with hoping to stop my drinking habits to only social drinking from now onwards :slight_smile: Thanks guys for the advice…

  1. I will start cross training

  2. Involve more swimming

  3. Never touch that CIG again :slight_smile:

Best way to improve lungs capacity as well as stamina is resorting to some simple yogic exercies. If you can visit some yoga centre for a week or so to learn it and then you can do it yourself at home or office anytime when free. Pranayam is most suitable for problem like yours. As said by many above your concerns are more due to other lifestyle problems than solely ‘smoking’ issue.It is more of a problem of stamina due to less oxygen absorption in the long run than lungs capacity only .

Avoid or reduce, at least stress and tension of any type. It is easier said than done but you have to do what is more imortant to enjoy life. It may sound surprising to many but it is a fact the stress and strain, due to whatever reasons like work pressure, intense targetted activity requiring long mental concentration (like studying for CFA), fear of failure (in relationship, exam or even performing less than other’s expectations) are main causes of most of the health & mental issues in the current highly competitive age. Just taking care by creating a balance between work and other activities, relaxation with moderate dose of regular exercise (as suggested above) will solve your problem soon.

Giving up on smoking is the first efficient action you have already taken, doing regular exercise (including some stamina building and deep-breathng ones) & some yoga (you can do it anywhere home, office ) will be the next best action for improving your life. Give up drinking too (social or non-social drinking is drinking!) , a peg always leads to another sooner than later. Moreover what do you lose if you don’t take it and take a glass of fresh fruit juice instead? Where you are (India) it is not even much of a social or climatic necessity. Healthy and happy Life by itself is worth much more than a fat bank balance or a few high qualifications. Go out and enjoy the nature, inhale the early morning air when dew is still there on grass and reduce being happy artificially… Instead of becoming regular medicine dependent in the long run you may start timely improved care with consciously worrying less, reducing stress and strain in your daily life. Come to think of it -even if you fail or someone feels you are bad or worthless due to lesser achievment - what can happen at the most? The world is not going to end for you. So why stress yourself on such issues, even if they seem so big? Being able to able to run a half marathon every other week is a much greater achievment than working hard sacrificing all other phsysical activities (including free time for the family) & increasing work related stress many fold just to ensure some monetary gain or promotion or bonus.Good health (which includes normal problems for any living being) is an asset and may be maintained with conscious efforts only.

I’m dubious about the yoga bit. I could definitely see it helping with your flexibility but stress and worrying and all that stuff has little to do with how efficiently your body pumps oxygen into your bloodstream. But, I have no yogic experience, so I can’t say first hand that this guy is nuts.

Drinking and smoking aint gonna help but it’s not main driver in the regression of your performance. Until rather recently professional atheltes smoked and drank all the time. They key drivers of your performance are:

  1. Genetics - nothing you can do about this

  2. Training - plenty you can do about this

  3. Mental - how hard will you push yourself (Here Mr. Yoga Yogi might have something to add)

The combination of these three things really decides what you can do. Gentics will take you far, but only so far without training. Without mental, you won’t train hard nor will you push through the weakness when you test yourself.

7-8 years of smoking likely did you no permanent harm. It takes several decades for that to really happen. My brother, who is an oncologist, told me that he hasn’t known anyone to get lung cancer who didn’t smoke for at least 20-25 years - your body is suprisingly resilliant when you are young, which is good, cause we all do some dumb shit.

So, don’t let being an ex-smoker be your excuse. It’s great that you quit and will help, but like I said, there are plenty of elite marathon runners that do smoke. They have 1) genetics and 2) training on their sides. 3) mental

— Important Stuff If we’re gonna be able to help you

  1. What’s your somatype? Everyone tends fall into the spectrum naturall somwhere. This is genetic. I’m Endo-Mesomorphic, myself.

Endomorphs - are natural born fatties. However, they are also usually very strong and not prone at all to injury. When they are in shape they can succeed in many aspects of sports while still looking somewhat thick and fat. Think Olympic weight lifters, NFL linemen, and sumo wrestlers. These guys are all endomorphs and in very good shape. If you are one of these then you will have a hard time being an elite distance runner. That is a genetic limitation. Endomorphs can grow muscle and fat very effectively, which is why if they don’t exercise and watch their diets they get fat.

Mesomorphs - make great all around atletes. They are lean and muscular. Think Mike Tyson during his glory years. These guys make great body builders as they have a good ability to grow muscle without getting fat.

Ectomorphs - are the skinny guys that can’t put on weight no matter what. They can be tall an awkward. The guy who is 6 foot 2 but only ways 150 pounds. These guys can’t grow muscle nor gain fat worth a damn. They can however frequently run and jump well.

And you can be a combination of two types as well. It’s a spectrum like I said. I’m endo-mesomorphic naturally, although due to training if you look at me in the mirror I look mesomorphic. There are still give aways that I can’t hide, a naturally rounder face, wide hips. Trademarks of my endoness.

  1. What’s your BMI? Give us your stats. (BMI is a decent indicator but not perfect especially for certain outlier type people)

Use this:

I’m 177 lbs (80 kg)

6 feet tall

My BMI is a 23.5 which puts me at the upper end of the healthy range. I’m naturally endo-mesomorphic (so heavy, muscular with, thick boned, wide frame, big ribs, thick torso and prone to getting fat if I’m not religious about my fitness regime). I’ll never be an elite distance runner, but I’m good at most contact sports and over shorter distances.

My hip waste ratio is a .47. Anything below .50 is considered healthy for guys our age.

  1. Have you lived an active lifestyle? I’ve played sports my whole life. My culture believes strongly in them. Coming from India, my understanding is that cardio is generally looked down upon as being what the poor people do. Hence the popularity of Cricket vs. Football. Also, it’s fucking hot here, I get it. Who wants to move around a lot if you can help it.

If you haven’t lived an active lifestyle then you need to work that much longer and harder. If you spent the first 30 years of your life not really doing any serious exercise than that did much more damage than your 7-8 years of smoking. Those Kenyans that kick ass in the marathon run 20ks everyday their whole life just to get to school or to a source of water and food. No wonder they are superior and not just genetically.

  1. I think I could be classified into the third category, probably… 2) and my BMI is around 25…

  2. I have been a cricketer for long and used to play Basketball/Badminton when I was a kid… I was extremely active till around 22… But once I joined work, Ive not been really active but for sporadic cricket matches or swimming and stuffs… The last 10 years is when Ive abused my body, both my smoking as well lesser activity.

But within a few months, I am already feeling lot more fitter (except for this breathing trouble that is) actually… But yeah, that is far lesser than what I want to be… And Ive limiations too unfortunately, have a family with a job as an IT programmer!

Thanks a lot for suggestions folks… Definitely no harm going for a week of Yoga class to correct my breathing and obviously general peace of mind too!

Unfortunately Cricket won’t do much for you in terms of conditioning. You’d be better off playing golf even. I’d do some other sports and training.

The other thing, is we’re just getting older. Haha.

I’m an endomorph. 5’9 and 200lbs. I run 4miles and lift weights for 6 days a week…yet I am pretty heavy for my height. Might be a diet issue…

The ectomorph guy looks like an alien…

Not sure if I categorically agree with this advice. I have run a number of half marathons, duathlons, and triathlons and have played other sports and every sport requires a different level of conditioning. Some people can be in great cardio shape but don’t run regularly. 1:45 for a half marathon is quite good by most standards – that’s an 8-minute mile pace. To get there from an “average” level of fitness, you need to be running 25-30 miles per week for many weeks in a row, with just 1-2 days off and varying tempo runs with longer distance training. It’s easier to do off of an athletic base but I generally believe that trying to set “pace targets” without knowing anything else about someone’s health or fitness history typically just makes people anxious in my opinion.

One of my old roommates is into freediving and has a thing that plugs your mouth and nose so you an practive holding your breath for extended periods. That might help but I’m no expert

I used to be and ecto when I was 165 and 5’10". Then I started lifting weights properly and now I’m at 195 and healthier and faster over short distances than ever. Mile under 6 and 400m under 60, which were our pre-season standards in soccer years ago, so have maintined the running portion well. I wouldn’t want to try and run a fast marathon though. Being light is very important for running distance. Sprint triathalons are a different story.

Anyway, BMI is kind of silly in my opinion since it does not take into account variables like bone density and muscle mass. I do agree that it could be a partial predictor of running performance since the less weight you need to move per stride the less work needs to be expended.