Aerobic exercise, such as jogging, benefits the health of the entire body, including the lungs. The movement of large muscle groups that takes place during jogging causes the heart and lungs to work harder, which, over time, improves the functioning of both these organs and builds up cardiovascular endurance. Regular cardiovascular exercise that includes jogging can also improve certain kinds of lung disease, such as asthma.
Increased Blood Flow
During strenuous exercise like jogging, the heart pumps harder, raising blood pressure, and increasing the amount of blood that flows to the lungs, according to the reference book, "Physiology of Sport and Exercise." Also, according to this text, in response to regular aerobic training, the body adapts so that the lungs receive greater blood flow even when the person is at rest.
Enhanced Oxygen Delivery
The increased blood flow to the lungs during aerobic exercise serves the purpose of delivering more oxygen to the muscles, say the authors of "Physiology of Sport and Exercise." Furthermore, in addition to the increased output of oxygen from the lungs while jogging, according to the book, "Personal Health: Perspectives and Lifestyles," jogging regularly improves the ability of the lungs to deliver oxygen to the rest of the body.
Increased Lung Capacity
According to a paper written by Elizabeth McLeod Sadler of the Psychology Department of Vanderibilt University, jogging maximises lung capacity through increased lung tissue usage. The deep breaths taken when jogging forces the lungs to use more tissue than the 50 percent of tissue that is normally used, according to Sadler. "Even smokers can sometimes recover full lung potential through running," says Sadler.
Exercise, including jogging, indirectly improves the breathlessness experienced by many patients with chronic lung disease by increasing muscular endurance, according to a "New York Times" in-depth report on the effects of physical activity. For example, says "The Times," long-term exercise may help control asthma and reduce hospitalisation."
Warning: Air Pollution Effects
Although the majority of the effects of jogging on lung functioning are positive, individuals who jog outdoors may experience negative health effects due to air pollution. A study published in the "American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine" found inflammation in the lungs of recreational joggers who regularly ran outdoors during a time of high ozone pollution. According to nutrition magazine "American Fitness," joggers are at at a high risk for lung problems caused by air pollution because people take in 20 times more oxygen per minute when jogging compared with when they are resting, and thus, their lungs' exposure to air pollutants also increases 20-fold. The American Lung Association recommends against exercising outdoors during times of high air pollution.
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- "Physiology of Sport and Exercise"; Wilmore, Costill, Kenney; 2008
- "Personal Health: Perspectives and Lifestyles"; Floyd, Mimms, Yelding; 2008
- Vanderbilt University Psychology Department: The Benefits of Running, by Elizabeth McLeod Sadler
- The New York Times: Physical Activity -- Exercise's Effects on the Lungs
- American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medecine: Biomarkers of Lung Inflammation in Recreational Joggers Exposed to Ozone
- American Fitness: Do You Jog in Smog?