Originally Posted by madvet
Unfortunately, it is a myth that you can "strengthen" your lungs. Your lungs are a passive gas exchanger built like a sponge and since your COPD has "clogged up" a significant part of the sponge your lung capacity is dimished. And age alone causes degeneration of lung capacity which is a major limiter in the athletic performance of older athletes.
(Don't be annoyed by my phrasing everything as a question.)
Before anything else, when breathing every stroke cycle, there isn't much time for breath holding. If the breath is being held, maybe that is the cause of some of the trouble.
Is it possible to...stretch lung tissue?
The strengthening devices are designed to work the muscles that manipulate the lungs, not the lungs themselves. But then, try breathing after being hit in the diaphragm. Muscles matter as well.
Doesn't exercise improve the body's ability to distribute and use oxygen more efficiently, reducing the overall amount of air exchange needed? Better technique definitely reduces the amount of air exchange needed.
Couldn't breathing problems be improved by better breathing technique like deeper, diaphragmic breathing?