Group Raises Money for American Lung Association With Mini-Triathlon

Posted by Samantha Powell on March 12th, 2014 |

Date: 3/12/14
Outlet Full Name: Carroll County Times
Author: Jacob DeNobel

Unwilling to wait for Mother Nature’s cooperation, FutureCare Cherrywood and Brick Bodies in Reisterstown are sponsoring an “I Love Lungs” indoor triathlon March 29 at Brick Bodies, 2 Chartley Drive, raising money for the American Lung Association.

Marla Bosley, director of admissions at nursing and rehabilitation center FutureCare Cherrywood, said the event mirrors a traditional triathlon but condensed into a single hour of competition. The triathlon begins with a 10-minute swim in the pool, with the number of laps completed marking the competitors’ distance, followed by 30 minutes on a spin bike and 20 minutes running or walking on a treadmill.

The American Lung Association sponsors a Better Breather Club at FutureCare every month. Alexander Grichuhin, heads the group and is competing in the triathlon.

“What we do for people who are having trouble breathing or who may have lung disease is offer support,” Grichuhin said. “We give out material from the American Lung Association to educate them and help them train their lungs.”

Grichuhin said they teach about low-cost and simple habits for people who simply need a little help breathing.

“Somebody with pulmonary fibrosis, their lungs are stiff, and they don’t stretch as much to let air in,” Grichuhin said. “Something that’s low cost that people can do to help out is get a coffee straw and breathe in through it for three seconds and breathe out for three seconds. This hyper inflates the lungs. You know how a new balloon can be hard to blow up until you stretch it out first? This is the same idea.”

The Better Breathers Club also help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, one of the most common lung diseases.

“People with blockages, if they’re breathing in one liter of air, they’re only exhaling about 600 milliliters. So if they’re breathing faster, they say they feel like their lungs are about to explode,” Grichuhin said. “We teach them how to do pursed lip breathing, which helps get the air out.”

Dennis Alexander, regional executive director with the American Lung Association of Maryland, said many people don’t realize how prevalent lung disease is.

“Lung disease is the third leading cause of death following heart disease and cancer,” Alexander said. “The instances of lung cancer among people who don’t smoke is actually rising.”

Alexander said factors that contribute to the rising instances of lung disease include a degradation of air quality in the home.

“A lot of things inside the home can exacerbate or even cause lung disease,” Alexander said. “We try to emphasize the importance of clean air in an indoor environment. Mold and radon are leading causes of lung cancer, and some household cleaning solutions can irritate the lungs.”

Grichuhin said the act of participating in the triathlon is already the first step to lung health.

“It’s great because it supports the idea of perpetuating exercise,” Grichuhin said. “Since it’s only about an hour, people who may not be ready to do a full triathlon can prepare and train for this to get ready.”

After an intense winter, Bosley said people are looking forward to an opportunity to compete.

“The weather has been so terrible, people are anxious to jump-start,” Bosley said. “They want to do triathlons. There is a subculture of folks that are so into these things, that they use this to simulate a real triathlon.”

Katie Nickoles, regional care manager with FutureCare, will be participating in the indoor triathlon.

“I have never done any kind of triathlon before. I’ve done a 5K. I’m training by biking and cycling indoors. Can’t do any of the swimming at home,” Nickoles said.

“We hope people want to join up. It supports a good cause, and it’s healthy for you to do for yourself while you’re helping out other people.”

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