Expand Your Lung Capacity with Breathing Exercises

Credit: British GQ
Stronger lungs means longer exercises.

Let’s just get this out of the way: rumors have circulated over the last couple of months that wearing a face covering reduces your oxygen intake, which can lead to brain damage. If no one else has told you yet, let me go ahead and be the first: that’s complete bunk. Oxygen can filter into a mask perfectly fine, just as carbon dioxide can filter out equally easily. Unless you have a preexisting respiratory condition, and an especially severe one at that, wearing a mask will not make it any harder for your body to get the oxygen it needs.

However, it is a teensy bit harder for your body to get proper oxygen intake if you exert yourself while wearing mask, like trying to jog long distance. Again, this won’t hurt you long-term, you’ll just run out of breath a little faster. If you want to exercise outdoors while maintaining proper safety protocol, you can offset the effects of the mask by expanding your lung capacity. While respiratory muscles can’t exactly be built like other muscles, you can train your lungs breathe more deeply, collecting more oxygen in the process. You’d be surprised how much more energy you can produce with the right breathing techniques.

Credit: Man of Many

First, try pursed lip breathing. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed, then slowly breathe in through your nose for three seconds. After that, purse your lips and slowly exhale the air over the course of six seconds. This process will help you to control and slow your breathing while bringing in more oxygen.

Second, try belly breathing. Again, breathe deeply through your nose for three seconds, though this time, try to be more conscious of the air filling your belly. Try placing your hands over your stomach to feel the process in motion. When you’ve got the air, slowly breathe out through your mouth over six seconds. As long as your shoulders and neck are relaxed, your diaphragm will handle everything.

Do these exercises for five to ten minutes a day, and you should begin to notice your breathing patterns improving whether you’re wearing a mask or not (which, to stress one more time, you should be doing in public).