As we get older, our lungs start to feel the wear and tear of everyday life, but it takes more than just refraining from smoking to take care of our lungs. We should be breathing, eating and exercising in a way that keeps our lungs healthy. There are steps that can be taken today to start improving our lung health and increasing lung capacity. Check out the different ways that you can start doing this today!
Diaphragmatic Breathing, or “belly breathing,” is how we all naturally breathed coming out of the womb, but then the stress and pressures of everyday life cause us to unlearn this beneficial breathing habit. This form of breathing encourages a full oxygen exchange, is able to slow the heartbeat, helps to stabilize blood pressure and even reduces stress. Your lungs can begin to lose elasticity which then causes air to build up in your lungs, leaving less space for the diaphragm to contract for you when you breathe. When your lungs are healthy, the diaphragm does most of the work when you inhale, so practice this breathing exercise to help strengthen the diaphragm in order to force out air build up in your lungs.
Pursed Lips Breathing
Pursed lips breathing is a technique that is usually engaged by those who struggle with a chronic lung disease in order to control breathing, especially under stress such as when exercising. However, it can be particularly useful to help your lungs generally work better. Using this method can help release trapped aid in the lungs, open airways longer, improve breathing patterns and promote relaxation.
Exercise More Frequently
If you exercise more frequently, then you could potentially improve your lung capacity by 5 percent to 15 percent. Exercising helps the entire cardio-respiratory system become stronger. Though this will help increase your lung capacity, making it easier for you to breathe and bring in more oxygen, this does not improve lung function overall.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
It is hard to know when you need to improve the quality of your indoor air, but there are indicators you can be looking for to help you determine if you need to take action, such as smelling mildew or keeping humidity levels over 50%. To protect your lungs from harmful pollutants, go around your house, or even your workplace, and look for the indicators in order to know what steps you may need to take next. Some easy ways you can keep sources of pollution out of your indoor air is by using a dehumidifier, not smoking inside and making sure to fix all leaks and drips that can cause mold.
Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants
You can improve your air passages with antioxidant rich foods. When we introduce stress, alcohol and cigarette smoke into our bodies, they create free radicals that can destroy lung cells. Free radicals are highly unstable and potentially cause cancer. Eating antioxidant rich foods, such as blueberries, asparagus, apples and broccoli, can help remove free radicals and keep the lungs functioning more healthily.
Get Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines
Protecting yourself from getting the flu and pneumonia is important in respiratory health, especially if you already suffer from a long disease. The flu can affect your whole body and lead to complications such as pneumonia or even chronic illnesses, such as asthma and congestive heart failure. Pneumonia causes pus or fluid filled air sacs in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. Since the flu can lead to pneumonia you could prevent it with a flu shot, but there are 2 different vaccines available for pneumonia, specifically.
If you have concerns about your lung health, make an appointment or stop by one of our offices to speak with a Community Access Network provider. We’ll help you get back on the road to healthy lungs so you can have stronger lungs for a long time.