Vital Lung Capacity Test – Best Hack | Posture Doctor

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Good posture is a significant factor in maintaining a youthful body. When you are stooped over (says Dr Rene Cailliet – founder of rehabilitative medicine): “You not only look old but function that way as well … a slumping posture greatly decreases your vital capacity and your ability to move.”

Vital lung capacity

Vital Lung Capacity (VTC) is defined as the maximum amount of air a person can expel from the lungs after a maximum inhalation. Here is a VTC test hack that I like to share with my posture students, as an effective way to measure progress.

Materials needed: Tailors measuring tape or string 

Don’t squeeze the tape too tightly around your chest.

The test:

Measurement 1

Wrap the tailor’s measuring tape around your thorax – level with your sternum (where your lowest ribs meet the middle breast bone). Breathe in and out several times, in a relaxed manner and after a full exhalation, bring the tape measure together (don’t squeeze the tape too tightly), look down and take the reading. Write down the number.

Measurement 2

Take several deep breaths in and out and then fully inhale, allowing your ribcage to expand maximally. Let the measuring tape slide gently through your fingers, as your chest expands. Once again, bring the tape measure together, look down and record the number – it should be larger than measurement 1.

E.g. Paula’s VLC measurements:

  • Measure 1 (M1) = 72cm
  • Measure 2 (M2) = 79cm

M2 should be 8-10% greater than M1

  • 8% of M1 = 5.76 (.08 x 72)
  • 10% of M1 = 7.2 (.1 x 72)
  • M1 + 5.76 = 72+5.76 = 77.76 cm
  • M1 + 7.2 = 72+7.2 = 79.2cm

Paula’s M2 should be approximately 78-79cm.

Paula’s M2 was 79cm, so her vital lung capacity is normal. Phew!

Use the Vital Lung Capacity test every few weeks (provided you are doing posture exercises regularly) to measure your progress. 

More self tests: Posturecise (Level 2) – with self tests and self treatments

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