Spirometry for sports enhancement can be performed at home using a portable spirometer. Swimmers, bikers, runners, and other top athletes can use the data from these lung tests to measure lung capacity and performance.
Benefits of Using Spirometry for Sports Enhancement
To use a spirometer, you perform a series of breathing exercises by breathing into a tube. A gauge displays how much air you inhale and exhale, as well as how quickly you are able to fill and empty your lungs. A normal score varies from person to person, depending on factors such as age, habits, and weight.
Spirometry is often used to monitor lung health in people with asthma or COPD. However, many do not realize that there are benefits to measuring healthy lungs as well. If you or your child is an athlete, a spirometer may help in the following ways.
1. Ability to track progress and growth
Physical progress goes far beyond exterior signs of improvement. Yes, your speed may improve or your muscles may grow, but hidden progress is just as important as visible progress.
For example, studies show that swimmers use spirometry to measure their lung capacity because they are constantly working to improve lung function. The point is not that they have a wider lung capacity, but that they use spirometry to monitor the changes in performance.
Whether you are a swimmer, sprinter, cheerleader, football player, dancer, every athlete can benefit from tracking their inner progress. Especially if you are a student working toward scholarships, it is important to understand every strength your body possesses.
2. Overview of overall health and lung capacity
In addition to helping you track sport-specific progress, spirometry for sports provides insight as to the overall state of your lung health. If you notice difficulty breathing during physical activity, or you find your sport harder than you used to, testing your lungs is a great way to make sure everything is still healthy.
3. Encouragement toward endurance
A pulmonary study indicates that lung training in sports improves overall health. When you see your body improving and becoming stronger, it encourages you to keep marching toward the goal. Remember, physical progress is a test of endurance. It doesn’t happen overnight. Spirometry often gives athletes the motivation to “continue enduring.”
4. A stronger respiratory system
Healthy lungs increase oxygen intake and oxygen is necessary for optimal brain function. Additionally, a stronger respiratory system means a slimmer chance of getting sick. Monitoring your lungs using spirometry is an excellent choice for athletes.
Additional Breathing Exercise for Sports Enhancement
Remember, spirometry for sports is all about monitoring your lung strength. Since your lungs are operated by various muscles, you can strengthen them the same way you would strengthen your biceps or your shoulders. Exercise your breathing muscles in the following ways, and then monitor your progress with a spirometer.
1. Deep Breath Wall Sit
Practice calm breathing under stress by getting into the wall sit position (back against the wall with legs bent at a 90-degree angle). Then, close your eyes, and focus on inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, slowly and steadily. The longer you stay in the wall sit position, the harder it will be to breathe steadily. Forcing yourself to take deep breaths exercises your lungs, ribs, and diaphragm and improves your breathing rate.
2. Contracting and Relaxing
On the flip side, rapid breathing is a technique used by many athletes. When doing this exercise, it is important not to hyperventilate. Do not simply breathe as fast as you can. Instead, inhale quickly through your nose, and then exhale through your nose in short, rapid bursts. This exercises your abdominal muscles.
3. Abdominal Breathing
Stand or lie against a flat surface (floor or wall). Without taking in any air, pull your abdomen as far in as you can. Hold your abdominal muscles in this position for 5-10 seconds, then slowly inhale. Release the air slowly, then repeat to strengthen the core muscles used for breathing.