We don’t often pay heed to the role our lungs play in keeping us strong and well. It’s only when we experience breathing problems that we begin to appreciate how hard our lungs work for us.
The truth is that, like the rest of our body, our lungs require daily care and attention to function at their best.
Breathing feeds oxygen to the cells throughout your body. Without sufficient oxygen, people are more prone to health problems, including respiratory illnesses, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and even heart disease.
As time goes by, it’s easy to pick up bad habits that can be hard on your lungs. However, with a bit of effort, you can help your lungs get back to full health.
Stronger lungs mean a stronger body and by adopting certain healthy habits, you can better maintain the health of your lungs and keep them working optimally.
1. Stop Smoking
Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Cigarette smoke narrows air passages and make breathing more difficult. Over time cigarette smoke destroys lung tissue and may trigger mutation in cells that can cause cancer.
Being a second hand smoker also adversely affects an individual. Choosing not to smoke can greatly improve your lung health and also overall family health. It’s never too late to stop smoking.
2. Improve Air Quality
Air pollution isn’t just caused by burning fossil fuels and carrying out open air burning. There’s air pollution indoors as well.
(i) Indoor Air Quality
Since we spend 90% of the time indoors, Indoor Air Quality is important. Air pollutants can range from contaminants brought in from the outdoors by your pets to dangerous gas leaks. Older homes may contain asbestos and lead particles, which can be damaging to the lungs when released into the air. In bathrooms and kitchens, mold and mildew can become a nuisance where moisture levels are typically higher than in the rest of your house.
To keep good indoor air quality, vacuum carpets and rugs, and replace air filters on a regular basis. Also, think about getting your house tested for mold, and make sure that you have working air vents.
(ii) Outdoor Air Pollution
To protect your lungs from outdoor pollution, consider the following:
• Avoid exercising outdoors on bad air days
• Avoid exercising near high traffic areas
• Check the air quality index online from time to time
• Don’t burn wood or trash
3. Regular Health Check
Regular check-ups prevent diseases. This is especially true for lung disease which can go undetected. Lung condition should be caught in early stages before it worsens. During an annual check-up, the doctor will listen to the patients breathing patterns and concerns.
4. Stay Active by Exercising
Exercise improves lung capacity and lung function, plus it strengthens muscles, bones and improves your mood.
It is recommended that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.
5. Drink More Water
Dehydration can cause the mucus lining of the airway and lungs to thicken and get sticky. This slows down overall respiration and makes one more susceptible to allergies and respiratory issues.
Drinking 8 glasses of water a day helps to thin the mucus lining of the airways and lungs which allows better breathing.
American Lung Association. Protecting Your Lungs.