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A Runner's Guide to Improved Breathing and Lung Capacity

A Runner's Guide to Improved Breathing and Lung Capacity

, by Aussie Pharma Direct, 5 min reading time

Understanding the dynamics of lung capacity is fundamental to refining your running performance. In this guide, we'll explore practical strategies and exercises aimed at boosting your lung capacity that’ll help you become a stronger, more enduring runner.

The importance of lung capacity for running

Lung capacity, the ability of your respiratory system to take in and utilise oxygen, is a key factor in determining your running capabilities. As you run, your muscles demand more oxygen to fuel their activity, and an efficient respiratory system ensures that an adequate supply reaches them. Think of your lungs as the engine that propels your body forward during a run – the more capacity you have, the better you can perform.

But does running improve lung capacity?

The answer is a resounding yes. Engaging in regular running exercises your respiratory muscles and conditions your lungs to become more efficient over time. As your body adapts to the increased demand for oxygen during running, both your cardiovascular and respiratory systems undergo positive changes that enhance overall lung capacity.

Now let’s start with some tips on how to improve your lung capacity for running.

1. Use the right breathing techniques

Running and breathing - they come hand in hand. Shallow breathing, often a natural response during periods of stress or intense physical activity, can limit your oxygen intake. When you don't fully engage your lung capacity, you may find yourself gasping for air and experiencing increased fatigue.

Proper breathing exercises or techniques ensure that your respiratory system efficiently delivers oxygen to these hard-working muscles, enabling them to function optimally.

One key technique that can revolutionise your breathing during running is diaphragmatic breathing.

This method involves engaging your diaphragm, the primary muscle responsible for respiration. Here are some breathing techniques for running:

Pre-run warm up:

  1. Spend a few minutes practicing diaphragmatic breathing before your run to oxygenate your muscles.
  2. Sit down in a relaxed position. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  3. Inhale slowly through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand.
  4. Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth, feeling your abdomen fall.
  5. Repeat and establish a rhythm. Do this for about 5-10 minutes.

To amplify the effects of diaphragmatic breathing exercises, some individuals find using devices like AirPhysio beneficial. This handheld device provides resistance to the airways, facilitating the strengthening of respiratory muscles.


  1. During your run, especially when you find a comfortable pace, shift your attention to your breathing.
  2. Incorporate diaphragmatic breathing by taking deep inhales and exhales.

2. Interval training

Interval training introduces brief, intense bursts of exercise followed by periods of rest or lower-intensity activity. This variation increases the demand for oxygen, promoting improved oxygen consumption and utilisation by the muscles.

Beginner interval workout:

  • Warm-up: 5 minutes of light jogging.
  • Intervals: 30 seconds of fast running followed by 1 minute of walking or slow jogging.
  • Repeat for 20-30 minutes.
  • Cool down: 5 minutes of brisk walking.

Advanced interval workout:

  • Warm-up: 10 minutes of light jogging.
  • Intervals: 1 minute of sprinting followed by 1 minute of slow jogging or walking.
  • Repeat for 20-30 minutes.
  • Cool down: 10 minutes of light jogging and stretching.

To enhance the effects of your interval training, consider using AirPhysio during your recovery periods or as part of your cool-down routine for targeted respiratory muscle training.

3. Lifestyle changes

It's crucial to recognise that lifestyle choices play a significant role in shaping the health of your respiratory system. 

Tips for creating a lung-friendly environment

Indoor air quality:

  • Ensure good ventilation in your living and sleeping spaces.
  • Use air purifiers to filter out pollutants and allergens.
  • Avoid smoking indoors, and designate smoke-free zones.

Outdoor activities:

  • Choose running routes away from heavy traffic when possible.
  • Check air quality forecasts and adjust your outdoor activities accordingly.

Allergen management:

  • Identify and manage indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, and mould to reduce the risk of respiratory issues.

Read more: Hidden Threats: How Mould in Your Home Could Be Making You Sick

Stay hydrated for optimal lung function

Staying well-hydrated helps maintain an optimal balance of mucus in the respiratory system. Proper hydration supports the mucociliary clearance system, aiding in the removal of mucus and potential irritants. Maintain hydration during your runs by drinking water at regular intervals.


In your pursuit of boosting your lung capacity and elevate your running experience, remember that progress is a gradual and iterative process. Consistency in practicing breathing techniques, varying your cardiovascular workouts, and incorporating strength training into your routine will contribute to lasting improvements.

Even you should consider the role of innovative breathing and mucus clearance devices like AirPhysio as valuable additions to your training toolkit. These tools provide targeted support for respiratory muscle training, offering a synergistic approach to enhancing lung capacity.


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