5 Breathing exercises to increase your lung capacity and clear them

what is lung capacity? lung capacity is the total amount of air your lungs can hold. This can be affected by your age because the lung capacity normally starts decreasing slowly when you pass your mid-20s.  

In addition, there are some conditions that significantly speed up the reduction of lung capacity and also how they work such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), leading to difficulties in breathing and shortness of breath.

Here are 5 breathing exercises you can do at home that may help to maintain your lung capacity, making it easier to keep your lungs healthy and with the amount of oxygen that your body needs to function better.

Let’s have a closer look. 

5 Breathing exercises

1.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 3 more times.

2. Deep Breathing  followed by cough 

  •  Inhale deeply
  •  Hold your breath for five seconds and exhale
  • Repeat 6 times
  •  On the sixth deep breath, as you exhale, cough deeply 3 times  .
  •  Repeat once then, lay flat on your front and breathe slightly deeper for 10 minutes

3. Deep Breathing

  • Sit straight but with your shoulder relaxed
  • Take a deep breath in
  • Breath out fast with your mouth open
  • Have a pause and repeat it a couple of times

4. Pursed Lip Breathing 

  • Breathing in through your nose
  • Breath out slowly through the mouth with pursed lips 
  • Repeat couple of times 

5. Belly breathing/Diaphragmatic breathing

  • Sit straight with shoulders and neck relax or do it in your bed
  • Breathing in through your nose
  • Put your hands lightly on your stomach to feel your belly full of air
  • Breathe out through your mouth at least two to three times as long as your inhale

These exercises reduce the number of breaths you have to take and keep your airways open for more time. More air can flow in and out of your lungs; this means your lung capacity increases so you can be more physically active.

2 Extra tips…

Drink plenty of fluids

Be sure you are drinking enough fluids, they loosens phlegm.  Dehydration makes phlegm sticks more to the lungs, so it is going to be very difficult to cough it up. Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. What you drink should be caffeine free fluids like water or sugar-free juices.


Exercise has many benefits for your overall health and lung health, in particular. While you exercise, your muscles need more oxygen. This increases the demand of your lungs to take in air, and your heart to circulate blood. With regular exercise, your Muscles will become stronger and more efficient using less oxygen. It can help lessen some of the symptoms of bronchitis. Also, when you are properly hydrated, exercise can loosen nasal congestion and open your sinuses.

Although exercising may be more difficult if you have chronic lung conditions, but you can benefit from regular exercise too.  Take into account that, if you have COPD, cystic fibrosis, or asthma, you should ask your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.

For more detailed information about how our physios or osteopaths can help with congested chest feel free to contact us.

We hope this information is useful for you. If you need advice or have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. We are always happy to help. If you like this blog, please share!

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