Lung Capacity is Best Predictor of Longevity and Health
One reason among many, to begin a regular breathwork practice is a longer life. There is scientific evidence that shows that the stronger lungs you have, the longer you are going to live.
What researchers measure is your "lung volume" - which is a measurement of how much air you can forcefully exhale after taking a deep breath. And lung volume is the greatest predictor of health and longevity. It's more important than knowing what you eat, how much you exercise or how much you weigh.
The research came from two mega studies on heart health. The Framingham Heart Study, which used 5,209 adult subjects over 18 years and a similar study at Buffalo Health which used 1,000 participants over 29 years. Both studied the effects of diet, exercise and medications and the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease. They found again and again that when a patient's exhalation power started getting weak and the lungs started getting smaller, that congestive heart failure and death was soon to follow.
These two studies came to the same conclusions- that those with higher lung capacity are healthier and live longer. According to the researchers,
"our ability to breathe fully is an indicator of general health and vigor and literally a measure of living capacity”
The medical view used to be that our lung volume declines in the same way that everything else in the body does. Unless you do something about it, by the time you reach age 80, the average is that you'll have lost 30% of your lung capacity- which means you'll have to be breathing harder and faster.
However, if you exercise your lungs, they get stronger, and when your lungs get stronger, your life force energy builds!
By working with your body, it changes. Internal organs, including the lungs are malleable and with a practice, we can change them at nearly any time. This is of course, what yoga has been pointing to for a thousand years or more. When you pick up breath practices such as Connected Breathwork or yogic pranayama you can dramatically strengthen your lung capacity- and your life force energy!
Breathe through your nose! The nose (as opposed to the mouth) puts extra resistance on the airway which strengthens the lungs.
Get a breath trainer and start using it everyday. Read more about the use of breathing trainers and the research here
Go for a walk or a bicycle ride. Even light exercise can increase lung capacity by up to 15%
Practice BreathYoga which is designed to help you correct breathing patterns using yoga.