Thursday, March 22, 2012
What Else Stresses The Respiratory System?
A few minutes ago we mentioned that exercise isn't the only thing that stresses your respiratory system.Anything that gives your body less oxygen to work with will influence how well your body function. Fortunately,the human body is highly adaptable.Altitude greatly affects your respiratory system because at higher elevations the air contains less oxygen.If you've ever taken a trip to the mountains and felt tired, that's why! Your system is getting a lot less oxygen than the amount it's used to getting.At about 3,900 feet the body starts to make changes to compensate for this lack of oxygen.At first, your rate of ventilation increases this happens at rest as well as during exercise.Although your muscle strength is relatively unaffected, your heart also adapts to the reduced levels of oxygen,increasing its output anywhere from 30 percent to 50 percent.Overall, the result is that your body will perform aerobic activity worse than usual when you first are at a higher altitude. Over three to six weeks, your body may adjust enough that it can perform nearly as well as it did at sea level, but it may always perform slightly worse at that higher altitude. However, after adjusting to the altitude and returning to sea level, your performance may be better for a month or so before your body readjusts to the oxygen rich air.This is why some athletes especially marathon runners prefer to train in places with high altitudes.Another huge influence on your respiratory system is smoking.Some lung problems and diseases that smoking causes don't appear until later in life.However, smoking tobacco impairs the ability of your lungs to function in several ways.