It's no secret that sports in general strengthens health and improves immunity. And today, in connection with the pandemic and the peculiarities of the course of the coronavirus infection, many are asking the question: will sports help to strengthen the respiratory system, and with what exercises?
Alexander Filimonov, nutritionist, sports medicine specialist, told us about how to train the breathing apparatus.
First of all, Alexander emphasized, you need to understand what we mean by the concept of "breathing apparatus". This is the functional work of the lungs, our muscles. And in order to work with the "breathing apparatus", you need to know which muscles are responsible in the body for the function of inhalation and exhalation.
Many people have a stereotype that this is only the diaphragm. In fact, our body muscles are also responsible for the function of inhalation and exhalation. During inhalation, in addition to the diaphragm, the neck muscles are included in the work: scalene, sternocleidomastoid muscle. The pectoral muscles are also responsible for the function of inspiration: the pectoralis minor and pectoralis major, the external intercostal muscle, and so on. That is, there is a whole set of muscles that are responsible for breathing. Serratus anterior muscle, transverse abdominal muscle - they are already responsible for exhalation.
“In order to improve the respiratory system, two factors are needed: the development of muscles that are involved in the function of inhalation and exhalation and the development of cardiorespiratory endurance. And cardiorespiratory endurance, as you know, is developed in the process of cardio loads,”the specialist summarizes.
Muscles are trained using all exercises physically possible for a person: using dumbbells, block trainers, free weights. To improve cardiorespiratory endurance, you need to exercise on cardiovascular equipment (treadmill, as an example) 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes. If there is a need to work on fat burning at the same time, this should be done in a low heart rate zone.
“Let's make a reservation that 20-30 minutes is an average value, you can start with this duration. Gradually, endurance will grow, and cardio workouts can be longer in duration,”says Alexander. For those who do not go to gyms, jogging, for example, can be advised as a cardio load.
Within the framework of this topic, according to the expert, it is necessary to say about such a direction as "body flex". It may seem that this direction will help develop the respiratory system, since diaphragmatic breathing is part of the exercise technique. But what's interesting. In the USA, where this trend was born, today it has already been declared invalid - it is prohibited to give it in fitness clubs. Why? In body flex, some exercises are required to be performed while holding the breath. And holding the breath leads to blocking the access of oxygen to the tissues and the occurrence of hypoxia. But the more oxygen enters the tissues, the faster the fat is oxidized, the better saturation of the organs passes and, accordingly, the functioning of the body as a whole improves.
“The only thing I can recommend from body flex is the exercise that is known as the vacuum. In fact, this is the work of the transverse abdominal muscle, which, among other things, is responsible for breathing. When we train it, our diaphragm and this muscle work - which, among other things, helps to remove the sides and highlight the waist,”advises Alexander Filimonov, adding that the vacuum is done in the morning, on an empty stomach and, preferably, after going to restroom.
It should also be mentioned that the respiratory system is strongly "tied" to the heart rate (heart rate). From this point of view, interval training is useful: when we enter a high heart rate zone and descend to a lower one. This is how we train both the heart and the respiratory system.