Does Basketball Help Your Lung Capacity?

Playing basketball can improve your health in many ways.

Playing basketball can improve your health in many ways.

Participating in sports you enjoy, such as basketball, can be a win-win situation. It helps you to get in shape without you really realizing how hard you're working because you're having fun. Playing basketball can condition your body and strengthen your cardiovascular system. But while exercise has many far-reaching benefits, expanding your lung capacity can't be achieved through working out.

Lung Capacity

Your lung capacity refers to the volume of air your lungs are able to inhale and exhale. It's characterized by two functions: total lung capacity, which is the volume of air your lungs can hold when taking in the deepest breath possible, and forced vital capacity, which is the amount of air you can blow out after taking the deepest breath possible. There are different ways to measure these pulmonary functions, such as the peak flow test that determines how quickly you can breathe out, and the spirometry test that measures how much air you can breathe out in one second.

Exercise and Lung Capacity

Your lung capacity is determined by the size of your lungs and the volume of air they hold; there is no type of exercise that can change this. In fact, the only way your lung capacity has an impact on your ability to exercise at different intensities is if you have a pulmonary disease such as asthma, bronchitis or emphysema, according to associate professor of health management Jeremy Barnes. So while playing basketball can benefit your health, it will not affect the capacity of your lungs to take in or breathe out air.

Basketball and the Lungs

Basketball can improve your cardio-respiratory functioning, which is often confused with your lung capacity. Participating in regular exercise, like running up and down a basketball court, can train your body to transport and use oxygen more efficiently. This makes it easier for you to do exercise of similar intensity in the future. While basketball primarily relies on anaerobic phosphagen glycolysis to produce energy, due to all of the explosive sprinting and lack of continuous running, it still gives you the same cardiovascular benefits. Think of it as really fun interval training. So playing basketball can help improve your lungs' efficiency.

Benefits of Basketball

Because playing basketball has the ability to improve cardio-pulmonary functioning through a combination of both aerobic and anaerobic training, it should be incorporated into your regular fitness routine if you enjoy it. Engaging in this type of physical activity can reduce your risk of certain illnesses such as heart attack, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers. It can also strengthen your bones and condition your muscles, so you will be better equipped to participate in other sports or forms of exercise.

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About the Author

Based in the Los Angeles area, Brandi Junious specializes in health-related articles. Her writing reflects her expertise in fitness and education. Junious is the author of children's book "A World Without Trees" and her work has appeared on Modern Mom, The Nest Woman, Chron Healthy Living and at Junious holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Southern California and a master's degree in Education.

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