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Exercising respiratory muscles

I have decided to purchase one of these devices expand-a-lung.com/ - it is now on it's way to me from the US. I have always felt strong when running , even long distances up to half marathon - but also feel that my lungs are my limiting factor. Whether it is the lungs themselves insofar as their ability to inhale and exhale sufficiently or my oxygen distribution system (basically my VO2max which is probably quite low) . I have read that most peoples lungs take in enough oxygen and it is their VO2 max which lets them down. Anyway, I recently met an older cyclist who told me that he had returned to cycling after a hedonistic life and found that a device like this helped him enormously. As far as I can make out you are simply inhaling and exhaling though a restriction which makes your respiratory muscles work harder while you are using the device. Looking forward to using it - I have read good reports about it.

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My husband used to use something a bit like that before he was diagnosed coeliac, as his asthma was playing up something terrible but he wanted to keep swimming. His was called a power breather. He found it very useful. The only thing is I had to go out the room when he used it as it made a gurgling noise from what could only be called spit. You know we have noises that make you feel physically sick well I found out that was mine hehe. The evidence is good for these products.

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Very interesting. Please report back on it from time to time especially if you see an improvement.

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Thank you. Please let us know how you get on with it.

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I would be really interested to hear your experiences of this, I have thought about these before but don't want to take the plunge. Good luck!

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I have read mixed reports about these. The thing is that I have also read that most physically fit people already have enough oxygen in their lungs to supply everything that their body needs -- EXCEPT that their oxygen pathways in their bodies blood cannot move enough O2 (in other words poor VO2) and the excessive breathing we all experience is simply the brain telling the heart/lungs to pump harder after the the muscles tell the brain that they are not getting enough O2. :) So, this is why VO2 training is important. BUT - I have also read reports that these devices appear to make breathing much easier perceptually - and as our perceptions are as important as our physical realities, perhaps there will be benefit to be had. It may be however that this applies more to "unfit" people than it does to us... "ath-e-letes" !! :)

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Bazza1234 - just came across your post now, & was wondering whether you thought the device has helped you out with your breathing, or not?

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To be honest, I got sidetracked from this device and didn't use it for long enough. I did however do a lot of heart rate training and that helped me with my breathing (together with strict rhythmic breathing patterns) and also did a fair bit of nasal only breathing. My understanding now is that it is possible to breathe too hard and quickly. It is counterintuitive, but that feeling that we need more air and hence need to breathe more quickly is actually caused by the body wanting to get rid of carbon dioxide and when we feel it we actually need to slow down our breathing - this IS difficult to master but it can be done by using nasal only breathing.

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Thanks for your reply, very interesting - a friend suggested I read a book called "Close Your Mouth" by Patrick McKeown soon after I started C25K, when I started struggling with my breathing (I have asthma)... although I haven't adopted everything from the book, I do try & nasal breath only, especially when running. As you said, at first it was near impossible, but as it was still one of the earlier weeks, there was enough walking & I slowed my running right down... and it has worked, enabling me to graduate the program! Not only that, I have reduced my asthma meds right down (going for a check soon, so will see if I am right or it is just my imagination that breathing is better generally). Not sure if it is the nasal breathing, or the running itself, or both, but I'm sure there has been an improvement! I was interested in the device as I'm such an optimist, I was thinking maybe one day I could stop the meds completely! :-)

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My understanding of ashthma is that it is a condition of "sensitive" airways. I don't think I have ashthma but I understand sensitive airways - if I accidentally inhale the slightest crumb when eating , my airways collapse :) Sounds to me like nasal breathing would be a must for a severe ashmatic.

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For me, it definitely is :-)

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