Exercises for Hyperexpanded Lungs

Hyperexpanded lungs occur when the air sacs of the lungs break down and become enlarged. This affects the lungs' ability to take in new air, making it difficult to breathe, particularly when you exhale.

There are several breathing exercises you can do. (Image: solidcolours/iStock/GettyImages)

This condition is most commonly associated with lung problems such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, according to the National Heart, Lung , and Blood Institute.

Difficulty breathing is one of the main complications of hyperinflated lungs. Breathing exercises and cardiovascular exercise can improve your breathing function and should be performed most days of a week to reduce difficulties related to lung hyperexpansion.

Breathing Exercise for Lung Hyperexpansion

Practicing modified breathing techniques during exercise is important for people with hyperexpanded lungs because it enables you to exercise more effectively and for longer periods of time. For best results, practice this breathing exercise on a daily basis and while you exercise for best results.

  1. Purse your lips together and inhale for two seconds.
  2. Exhale for four seconds, keeping the lips pursed.
  3. Continue breathing in this manner for one to two minutes.

Pursing the lips warms and aids moisture to the air before it enters the body, making it more easily filtered by the lungs. Exhaling for a longer period than you inhale helps to compensate for the slower exhalation that those with COPD experience.

Walking With Hyperexpanded Lungs

Walking is a low-impact exercise that can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve circulation and lung function. However, walking with hyperexpanded lungs presents some challenges. Because you may feel breathless the first few times you walk, aim for a short distance. Set a goal to walk to the end of your street or for five minutes.

Count your steps as you inhale, then exhale for twice as many steps, as recommended by Cleveland Clinic. For example, you may inhale on steps one, two and three and exhale for six steps. Practice each time you walk to ensure this becomes a habit. Increase the distance you walk as often as possible, but do stop and rest for two to three minutes if you sense you are losing your breath.

Elbows Back Breathing

The elbows back exercise strengthens the arms and improves your breathing.

  1. Sit with your feet slightly less than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slowly lift your elbows in the air until they are shoulder level. Touch your fingertips together in front of your chest.
  3. Breathe in slowly as you pull your elbows backward and the fingertips apart.
  4. After you have pulled your elbows as far as they comfortably can go, breathe out to lower the arms to your starting position.

Try Diaphragmatic Breathing

According to Harvard Health Publishing, diaphragmatic breathing can reduce the amount of energy and effort needed to breathe for people with COPD.

  1. Lie on your back with your knee bent and feet on the ground.
  2. Rest one hand on your chest and the other over your belly button.
  3. Breathe in through your nose and fill your belly with air. Your bottom hand should be rising while the one on your chest stays still.
  4. Tighten your lips and breathe out, lowering your belly to the starting position.
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