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KJames

Midshipman
Hey everyone,

So I ended up passing the paperwork side of the medical and I went for my face-to-face medical the other day. That went excellently and the doctor said I had no problems... and then handed me a peak flow meter and told me to fill it in for a week. Note I've had no problems with cardio or running in the past, and exercise regularly. My brother had childhood asthma but I have had no such problems at any point in my life. I have also done the Wim Hof Method (breathing exercise and breath retention) on and off for the past few years, so I thought my lung capacity was pretty solid. I'm never out of breath, wheezy or cough a lot.

This was until I checked out what the 'normal' score for a 22 year-old male is supposed to be - at the 560-570 mark. I'm 60-70 away from that, and this has me worried for my future career path. I'm not sure if my lungs are under-capacity for someone my age and if this could be a problem for my application, or if I'm just using the peak flow meter wrong and screwing up the technique, or if my lung capacity has gone down a bit since I haven't done the Wim Hof Method in about a year. What do you people think? The last thing I want is some poor technique on a self-administered test to screw things up.

Thank you in advance.
 
PEFR isnt a measure of lung capacity, just flow rate. There are some good threads on here already about technique and the effect it has on readings. You are likely not breathing in an absolutely full lungful of air or pushing from the base of your lungs. Some people in the thread recommend shouting a 'Chow' sound, which worked for at least one other in the thread. Also some very fit people need to 'warm up' the muscles first with a jog so try it after a 10 min run to see if that helps.

'Normal' values are based on age, sex, and height. If you were a 6 foot male your expected rate should be ~600, but 100 L/min lower than that is still considered normal in civilian world, though I haven't seen what standards the navy requires.

Also WHM isnt going to be beneficial, all it does is warm up your core body temperature using the muscles that operate your lungs, there isnt really any good evidence to show it does anything else beneficial or harmful. Any good cardio workout is going to work those muscles just as hard.
 
PEFR isnt a measure of lung capacity, just flow rate. There are some good threads on here already about technique and the effect it has on readings. You are likely not breathing in an absolutely full lungful of air or pushing from the base of your lungs. Some people in the thread recommend shouting a 'Chow' sound, which worked for at least one other in the thread. Also some very fit people need to 'warm up' the muscles first with a jog so try it after a 10 min run to see if that helps.

'Normal' values are based on age, sex, and height. If you were a 6 foot male your expected rate should be ~600, but 100 L/min lower than that is still considered normal in civilian world, though I haven't seen what standards the navy requires.

Also WHM isnt going to be beneficial, all it does is warm up your core body temperature using the muscles that operate your lungs, there isnt really any good evidence to show it does anything else beneficial or harmful. Any good cardio workout is going to work those muscles just as hard.
Hello Lynxz. I saw that thread about shouting a 'Chow' sound and I've tried that, and again I'm entirely unsure if I'm doing that right either! My height is 175 cm and I'm 22 years old (just turned) - the normal score for someone my age is 560-570 (see here: http://resources.hwb.wales.gov.uk/VTC/2012-13/22032013/hsc/cym/unit-4/u5-ioph/unit-5-peak-flow.htm).
 
Yeah shorter people have lower expected values.
I personally found the chow method not any better than doing it 'normally', but this was only after i played around with it a few times. My first ever go was a lower score like yours but after a few attempts and learning to breath in fully and expel using all of my lungs (rather than just the 'top' like you would normally) i pretty quickly reached and exceeded the expected target. Now i can get pretty regularly 700-750. There is a way of getting very high scores easily but its essentially cheating and obvious enough that I really wouldnt recommend doing it so i wont go into detail.

Dont tire yourself out with trying too many times in a row but have a few goes over the course of the day and it should eventually click.
 
Yeah shorter people have lower expected values.
I personally found the chow method not any better than doing it 'normally', but this was only after i played around with it a few times. My first ever go was a lower score like yours but after a few attempts and learning to breath in fully and expel using all of my lungs (rather than just the 'top' like you would normally) i pretty quickly reached and exceeded the expected target. Now i can get pretty regularly 700-750. There is a way of getting very high scores easily but its essentially cheating and obvious enough that I really wouldnt recommend doing it so i wont go into detail.

Dont tire yourself out with trying too many times in a row but have a few goes over the course of the day and it should eventually click.
What I think I am doing is inhaling with good technique (I can breathe in slowly up for about 12-14 seconds), but exhaling poorly with only the top half of my lungs emptying fast enough. The rest isn't coming out in time, and so doesn't add the extra oomph to my exhalation that I need to bump up my score.
 
UPDATE: I decided to try with a new peak flow meter that I bought separately for a bit more money than the one I was given was priced at (I paid roughly double). I tested it last night and whoosh, I was able to score right up to 560. Seems to have been a combination of poor technique and perhaps issues with the peak flow meter I was given.

UPDATE 2: I tried it again this morning three times - scored 560, 575 and 570. Later on... 600 and 610.
 
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Would anyone else here have anything to add? Due to me running my mouth and talking to much, I had told my recruiter over the phone a week ago of my 500-510 score issues. Now I'm scoring 600-610 with the different PFM... but the diary has already been sent in. I'm very concerned that I'll get shafted for something that turned out to be a non-issue anyway.
 
UPDATE (16/7/21): A couple days ago I completed my second peak flow diary using the Medi peak flow meter. My lowest score across the weak was 580 and my highest was 620. I have just received an email as of this morning from the Recruitment Medicals Team saying a paper review appointment has been booked of my medical notes (which must be the peak flow diary) on 21 July. I'm feeling quite nervous about this despite my reading up in the JSP 950 and working out of various figures that would seem to point to me being in the clear.
 

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