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  1. #1
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Fat Guy Lung Capacity

    Does air temp have an effect on lung capacity? I ride mostly roads and usually do not ride in really cold weather but the temp was about 33 - 37 degrees during the ride. I finally got to get out on my new retro MTB on real trails along the ridge on top of a mountain. The ride up to the top was a paved road on a casual grade and I found myself getting a little winded. Granted I was trying to keep pace with the guy I was riding with who rips off 50+ miles on a road ride on a weekly basis. He was riding a single speed and I mine was an 8 speed. I can climb hills on my roady with out getting winded but this ride seemed strange. Every time I cranked up a short farily steep incline I found myself gasping for air. The total overall climbing was about 800ft total according to map my ride. Is lung capacity somewhat like muscle where you kind of have to push it a little to increase capacity? Granted it takes a bit more effort to pedal through rocks and over logs but it just seemed strange that I was getting out of breath so easily.

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    It's not so much your lung capacity as it is your AEROBIC capacity. You require more O2 than a thinner person, so you go through blood O2 faster. I suppose that in body mass to Lung Capacity you are at a disadvantage.....why do you think I was on O2 at peak weight....because 5.2 liters lung capacity was insufficient for my body mass.

    By the way, cooler air has a higher O2 concentration than hot muggy air, but can trigger exercise induced asthma.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  3. #3
    2008 Prouty WhaleOil's Avatar
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    I have an appt for a VO2 test Apr 2 and I have lots of questions for them. I've written yours down and will include it. Respiratory therapists should know this stuff. No offense Tom.

    -eric
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  4. #4
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I Googled Exercise Induced Asthama and did some reading on a couple different sites and I don't think it is that. It very well could be my Aerobic capacity. I have been running a lot but not pushing it very hard. I have heard that the colder weather saps your energy a lot quicker then in warmer weather which is why I was thinking the colder weather was having an effect on my Aerodic capacity. I am not well educated on biology but doesn't O2 absorbtion help your muscles sustain peak activity longer more then help your aerobic capacity or am I thinking of this in the wrong way. I would like to work on being able to huff it through these trails like the skinny guys so I can keep up.

    Thanks WhaleOil let me know what they say if you remember to ask them.

  5. #5
    2008 Prouty WhaleOil's Avatar
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    Oh I'll remember! It's written down. I'm only starting to get into the techie aspect of health. Years ago it was just eat your greens and keep active. Now we have all these things like HR monitors to excercise in the correct heart zone and aerobic and non aerobic zones. We never knew that.

    Yep, I've got it written down and will ask and report back.

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  6. #6
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    I happen to have exercise induced Asthma, so I have asked a few of these questions. Here are some of the reasons that cold air causes you to feel like you have less usable oxygen.

    The bronchial tubes in your lungs naturally constrict when their temperature drops. So even if you are not asthmatic you will still generally be taking in less air per breath than you would with normal air. A lot of body heat is lost during the breathing process, the cold air in your lungs has to be offset by warming the body so you are dumping extra energy into producing that heat. Trying to keep yourself warm also plays into more energy used since the outside of you body is attempting to stay warm as well.

    So the biggest factor is not getting as much air into your lungs, and the a small factor is the oxygen by used to heat the body.

  7. #7
    2008 Prouty WhaleOil's Avatar
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    Blindrage, I always knew that we lost a lot of hydration during breathing but I never knew, or thought of, losing body heat.

    Thanks-
    The direct link to support me in the 27th Annual Prouty Bike Ride, July 12, 2008:
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    Thank You! -eric

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigUgly View Post
    ......Does air temp have an effect on lung capacity? I ride mostly roads and usually do not ride in really cold weather but the temp was about 33 - 37 degrees during the ride......
    When it gets down to about 38, I basically don't ride. I can't get enough air.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
    When it gets down to about 38, I basically don't ride. I can't get enough air.
    As someone who lives in a place with lots of cold weather, one way to reduce the loss of heat through breathing is to keep the lower half of the face covered, the scarf or face covering will trap much of the exhaled heat, and use it to pre-warm incoming air, it also reduces the amount of exposed skin. When riding, you almost need a "winter" helmet,. To get a winter helmet, get a cheap helmet, without a lot of vent holes, some foam rubber, and the handy man's secret weapon - duct tape. Now fill the vent holes with the foam rubber, and cover that with the duct tape, if you want, for aesthetics, just cover the whole helmet, with the tape, You can also use hockey tape, which is also very strong and probably looks better, add a couple of strips of the retro-reflective tape, they use on big trucks, which you should be able to find at an automotive store. You want it in red and white, put white on the front, and red on the back. This will help when riding at night, something that you often have to do, to ride in the winter.

    Oh, well I have to go get ready for church, the Son-rise service is at 8!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ranger63's Avatar
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    Gasping for air

    I'm going to preface this by saying I have the emphysemic version of copd.
    Shortness of Breath (SOB)is nothing new in my world.
    What I've learned is that:If I ramp up my speed as I ride,maintaining about the same cadence I can maintain a fairly decent clip with little shortness of breath but if I attempt to go from say: 14mph to 18/20 mph in one fell swoop I'm gasping like a fish out of water.
    fwiw It took a decade and some pretty exhaustive tests for doctors to discover the SOB wasn't simply asthma related.

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