5 Easy Tips to Improve Your Lung Health
The lungs provide the body with life-giving oxygen at all times while removing waste carbon dioxide along the way. In the following, we will discuss 5 easy ways to improve your lung health along with a brief overview of how your lungs work.
Lung Health Nucleus and Bolts - Lung Function vs. Lung Capacity
The lungs have a twofold duty to deliver oxygen to the bloodstream while removing carbon dioxide from the body. Every cell in the body draws oxygen from the blood and stores carbon dioxide as waste into the bloodstream. For people living with chronic lung diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the lungs have difficulty supplying the body with the amount of oxygen it needs.
Lung function and lung capacity determine how efficiently the lungs deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Lung capacity shows how much air your lungs can hold. It also affects how quickly air enters and leaves your lungs.
Lung function is related to how efficiently the body uses the oxygen it receives. Though lung capacity can be increased, lung function cannot. This means improving the health of your lungs is about increasing your lung capacity. Pulmonary exercises are designed to help the body make better use of the available oxygen supply. Here are some easy exercises you can do to improve lung health and make breathing easier.
5 Tips to Improve Your Lung Health
1. Diaphragm Breathing
Healthy breathing uses the diaphragm, which is a dome-shaped sheet of muscle that runs between the chest and abdomen. The diaphragm muscle must help the lungs fill with air by moving downwards and then pushing the air out of the lungs as it moves back up. Commonly known as diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing, the stomach rises and falls with each breath.
Although the diaphragm is supposed to be the main respiratory muscle, many people subconsciously develop the habit of using the muscles in the shoulders, neck, and back, which severely limit the amount of air that leaves and enters the lungs. A 2016 research study that appears in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science aims to look at the effects of diaphragmatic breathing on respiratory function. Using two groups of subjects, one group did a feedback breathing exercise while the other practiced diaphragmatic breathing. The results showed a marked increase in lung capacity for the group practicing diaphragmatic breathing.
So, diaphragmatic breathing can strengthen the diaphragm muscles and help the lungs work more efficiently.To do this exercise, you need to breathe from your stomach. It helps to place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest as you inhale and exhale. Inhale through your nose for two seconds, then exhale through pursed lips for two seconds. As you exhale, squeeze your stomach to make sure you engage your diaphragm muscles.
2. Cursed Lip Breathing
Chronic lung conditions, such as bronchitis and asthma, are often caused by inflamed airtips that prevent air from circulating through the lungs. When this happens, stuffy air is trapped inside making it difficult for the lungs to absorb new or fresh air (and oxygen). This condition causes you to often feel short of breath. The Puckered lip breathing forces the airtips to stay open longer as you exhale so that evaporateair can be expelled and more fresh air can be absorbed.
The pursed lip breathing exercise is easy to do and can be done anywhere and anytime. This exercise involves inhaling, slowly, through the nose and exhaling through pursed lips. The goal is to inhale twice as long as inhale, so if you inhale for five seconds, you will want to exhale for 10 seconds.
3. Stretching the ribs
The rib stretch does exactly what it says it does, stretching or expanding the ribs, which helps your lungs breathe as much air as possible. This lung exercise requires you to be in a standing position, straight with your hands on your hips. Inhale slowly until your lungs are full. Hold your breath for 20 seconds or as long as it feels comfortable, then exhale slowly. Relax and repeat three more times. If done regularly, stretching the ribs helps you breathe more air into your lungs and exhale completely so that stuffy air doesn't build up in your lungs.
4. Laugh and Sing
Any activity that works the abdominal muscles also works on the lungs. Both laughing and singing do this. Activites laughter not only increases your lung capacity but also forces the exaporate air out of your lungs so that more fresh air can enter. In addition, singing exercises the diaphragm muscles, which also helps increase lung capacity.
5. Increase Your Activity Level
Increasing your daily activity in general can go a long way in improving the health of your lungs. Something as easy as brisk walking or cycling not only works great as a lung exercise but also improves your heart health and overall mood. A study sponsored by the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging demonstrated the benefits of replacing just 30 minutes of relaxing time per day with strenuous activity or strength building. Study participants had poor respiratory function due to conditions such as asthma and COPD. The results from the study showed a marked increase in lung capacity, enabling participants to inhale and exhale larger volumes of air on a continuous basis.
Following simple habits will help keep your lungs healthy and control the disease. Currently, we can see high levels of indoor and outdoor pollution, so protective measures are very important. Apart from following your eating habits, precautions must be taken to remove harmful contaminants.
Don't neglect your lungs. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle prevents lung disease. Regular checkups are essential even when you are comfortable. Lung disease often goes undetected until it is severe.
During the exam, the doctor will listen to your breathing. Be sure to report symptoms such as chronic cough or wheezing. Early detection of lung disease is the key to a fast and successful treatment.
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