I had a difficult surf session this morning and exited the waters with burning lungs, similar in feeling to after running long distance or multiple sprints. I'm an avid weightlifter, so I'm well aware of the necessity of giving your muscles ample time to repair before working them again. Do you lungs also undergo damage and need time to repair like your muscles do after a hard workout? I'm wondering if after this surf session, I should avoid swimming or running hard for another day. Thanks
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They're not damaged.
A really simplified way of thinking about your lungs burning is that you are using parts of your lungs that are not accustomed to being so exposed to an outside environment.
You have an abundant amount of what are called aveoli and bronchioles that make up your lungs.
When running, you expose those normally mucus-lined areas to air, which dries them out.
This elicits an inflammation response, and is the source of the burning sensation.
The inflammation in turn results in more mucus production. As you get better with cardiovascular activity, your body learns how to respond with that mucousal production much faster.
So no need to "rest up" your lungs. I'd argue it's better for them to get exposed more often.