View Full Version : Breathing/Vital Capacity

September 3rd, 2003, 07:31 PM
Are their any good exercises that can increase my vital capacity so that i could swim longer with less air? Does just swimming increase someones vital capacity? please answer this if you read it

my email is monkeyman2203@hotmail.com if you want to contact me

September 4th, 2003, 09:31 AM
You wrote "Does just swimming increase someone's vital capacity?". I think the answer is yes, and I would only change that to "swimming harder". If you search under the phrase "training effect" you'll find more technical explanations.

If I may speculate, one other thing I can think of is to breathe diaphragmatically. Here though, I am speaking out of experience of playing the trumpet, and not swimming. Something about breathing diaphragmatically prevents hyperventilating while playing a long passage in one breath. I suspect this also applies when swimming at lower speeds. Can any of the coaches or physicians confirm this? Shaky?

September 4th, 2003, 09:38 AM
Your vital capacity cannot be increased--it is what it is. Vital capacity is measured by pulmonary function testing. It can be reduced, however, by various disease processes, smoking, etc. There is some decline with age as well (although regular exercise may slow this decline). The ability to swim longer without breathing is not due to an increase in vital capacity but probably reflects improvements in conditioning, etc.

September 8th, 2003, 07:01 PM
I don't know whether this is on the subject directly or not, but during my recent hip replacement my anesthesiologist gave me an intriguing gadget called a volumetric exerciser which was said to help "develop, improve, and maintain respiratory fitness..." "designed to encourage you to perform the exercises prescribed by your physician." "...to see your progress toward improving your inspiratory volume". "Deep breaths are necessary to reach and expand the small air sacs of your lungs".

Having said that. I don't have any clear idea how it might apply to competetive swimmers. Accompanying this VOLDYNE 500 is a predictive nomogram scaled from 1250 to 5000 mL. based on age and height in inches.

Any knowledgeable thoughts about connecting this to the "vital capacity" in this discussion?

September 9th, 2003, 08:09 AM
During general anesthesia, small regions of the lungs collapse, a condition called atelectasis. The purpose of the incentive spirometer is to re-expand those portions of the lungs and restore your normal preoperative lung volumes.

September 9th, 2003, 10:16 AM
Couldn't you accomplish the same thing by playing a saxophone?

jim thornton
September 9th, 2003, 12:39 PM
Contrary to popular belief, you can't really do much to train your vital capacity. On the positive side, however, it's not the amount of oxygen your lungs take in that is the important thing in swimming. It's the amount of oxygen your well-trained muscles are able to extract from your blood stream. There have been endurance athletes that have competed in the Olympics with only one lung. Obviously, if vital capacity were a limiting factor, this would not have been possible.

Forget about training your lungs. Train your heart (which will get more efficient at pumping blood to your muscles) and your skeletal muscles (which will get more efficient at extracting the oxygen they need), and your endurance will improve regardless of how much air your lungs can hold.

September 9th, 2003, 01:05 PM
ah so thats what that little plastic thingie is... where the bobber goes up while you inhale. Very interesting!

September 10th, 2003, 06:08 PM
i sometimes try swim full lengths underwater even after swimming 60-100 lengths training,usually the first few attempts i fall short of the full length,after 3 or 4 retries i manage it with ease so i guess the lung capacity is pretty much like the muscles on our bodies and can be "warmed "up with practice.

Matt S
September 11th, 2003, 02:27 PM
You might find this article interesting: