Top Tips For Improving Lung Health
Our lungs never stop working! They fill with air every few seconds as you inhale and release carbon dioxide as you exhale. Even when you are resting or completing basic tasks, your lungs are there to support you. Isn’t it time you gave back and supported them? There are several ways you can improve your lung health and help you breathe. Even taking small steps can have a big impact on your breathing experience. Here are some simple ways you can support your lungs every single day.
1. Improve Your Posture
You can boost your lung health as you read this sentence. When you slouch, your diaphragm can’t work as effectively and your chest cavity struggles to expand and fill your lungs. If you slouch at a desk all day, you could negatively impact your breathing capacity.
You don’t need to have perfectly straight posture all day. Practice sitting with good posture for a few minutes at a time. You should feel comfortable, not stiff as a board. Over time, sitting up should feel more comfortable.
2. Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing
This is another simple exercise you can follow along with sitting up straight for a few minutes at a time. Find a place where you feel comfortable and place one hand on your chest and another on your abdomen. Breathe in slowly and let your diaphragm push your lower hand out – you should feel your belly expand. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale slowly. Repeat.
These breaths are meant to make you more aware of your diaphragm while allowing you to fill your lungs to a deeper level. Spending a few minutes practicing diaphragmatic breathing throughout the day can also lower your stress levels.
3. Get Moving
Another easy way to improve your lung health is to exercise. Unfortunately, a lot of people with poor lung health avoid exercise because they get winded easily. This only worsens their lung health. You don’t have to run a marathon to improve your lung health with exercise – a simple 10-minute walk will do.
Aerobic exercise improves blood circulation and increases your ability to pull oxygen from your lungs. Dancing to a song you love, walking your dog, and water aerobics all count as exercise. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (roughly 30 minutes five days a week). It’s okay to start small and build up to this level as long as you get moving.
4. Follow a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to completely give up sugar, alcohol, fats, bread, and everything else that tastes good. Instead, it means taking steps to eat in moderation and incorporating more vegetables and lean proteins into your meals.
Try to follow portion recommendations and talk to your doctor if you have diet concerns. One way to successfully improve your diet is to find healthy foods you love. If you enjoy the crunch of fresh carrots or the juicy tang of strawberries, you are more likely to reach for these foods. A good diet will give your body – including your lungs – the nutrients it needs to thrive.
5. Stay Hydrated
Along with improving your diet, take steps to drink more water each day. This can help improve your lung health, prevent muscle soreness, and even improve skin. You don’t have to follow strict targets for drinking water. Instead, try to have at least one glass with each meal. You can also “eat your water” by choosing hydrating foods like watermelon, cucumber, celery, carrots, and tomatoes.
6. Quit Smoking
We understand how hard it is to quit smoking, especially if you have carried this habit with you for years or even decades. However, the health benefits of quitting are almost immediate and your lung health will improve within a few hours of setting aside cigarettes, cigars, vape pens, and other smoking devices.
Within a few days of quitting, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood drop to normal levels. Within two weeks of quitting, the air circulation in your lungs starts to improve. Within a month of quitting, your shortness of breath can start to go away and the cilia in your lungs start to regain normal function – which are essential to long-term health. It’s worth the effort to set aside smoking for good in order to get your lung health back.
7. Avoid Pollution
Pollution increases the amount of work your lungs have to do. They spend more time filtering the air and expelling unwanted chemicals from your body. Unfortunately, pollution isn’t always avoidable. If you live in an urban area or find yourself breathing dirty air, take steps to reduce your exposure to smoke, smog, and other fumes:
- Invest in indoor air filters so dirty air stays outside.
- Wear a mask when you are in high-pollutions areas.
- Stay home on days when the air is bad (with high smog levels, red tide, or nearby controlled burns).
- Track the air quality in your area.
On a smaller scale, you can reduce your exposure to pollution by avoiding fires, using electric-powered yard equipment instead of gas, and by keeping a neat yard without excessive pollen-producing plants.
Who knew watching your favorite comedy special or telling jokes with friends was good for your health? Laughing expels stale air from your lungs and allows you to fill them with fresh oxygen. It also gives you an endorphin boost – your body’s natural painkillers which are also known as “feel-good” chemicals. Laughter can also get your blood flowing, moving oxygen through your body.
It’s okay to let a small chuckle turn into a deep belly laugh. You will feel good and your lungs will feel better!
9. Stay on Your Treatment Plan
If you have any concerns about your lung health, talk to your doctor. They can recommend lung exercises to reduce your shortness of breath and improve blood flow, as well as help you manage conditions like asthma and allergies with medication. These plans won’t work if you don’t follow them, so the best way to improve your lung health is to follow your doctor’s treatment plan.
Call Us to Discuss Your Lung Health
These are all great ways to improve your health, but sometimes your lungs can use a little extra care. If you’re concerned about your lung health or living with frustrating respiratory symptoms, reach out to our team at Lyracore Health Alliance. Dr. Alexandre Furman has dedicated his life to researching and utilizing leading-edge treatments and technology in advanced pulmonology in order to help his patients breathe better. With Dr. Furman on your side, you can take the first steps to maximize your lung health. Call us today to schedule your comprehensive consultation.