Let’s be honest, probably the only time you ever think about your lungs is during an intense workout, or when you are sick, coughing up phlegm and struggling to breathe. After all, in a world where looking good on the outside seems more important than what is on the inside, there’s so many more interesting things to think about.
But, thinking about and protecting the lungs is hugely important to your overall health and well-being. Consider the fact that when your lungs aren’t function well, they cannot rid your body of carbon dioxide, the waste product of cellular metabolism. Poor lung function also interferes with oxygen absorption. Getting oxygen into your body is vital if you want to lead a healthy and active lifestyle and feel full of energy.
We know, if you’re reading this, staying happy and healthy are important to you and that is why we have listed 8 simple things you can do now to improve your lung health.
Quit smoking now
This may seem pretty obvious, as we all know smoking is bad for you, but millions of Americans still perform this harmful habit due to their addiction to nicotine. Even worse, millions more who don’t actually smoke themselves are still exposed to second hand smoke which can be just as harmful. Exposure to cigarette smoke can cause airway inflammation and swelling and damage lung tissue. Even worse, according to cdc.gov, 80%-90% of lung cancer deaths are linked to cigarette smoking.
Some people think smoking just a few cigarettes a day is not harmful. However, each cigarette smoked deposits thousands of harmful chemicals inside your lungs.
These chemicals and tar can lead to increased mucous production and make it difficult for the lungs to clean themselves. As a result, the airways of the lungs may become inflamed and narrow until breathing becomes difficult. Patients with severe lung disease may eventually be placed on a mechanical ventilator. A mechanical ventilator is a machine that breathes for the patient.
There are many effective strategies smokers can take advantage of to quit smoking. Some smokers are able to quick after attending a smoking cessation classes taught by lung specialists known as respiratory therapists. Respiratory therapists are experts in lung disease and lung health. To learn more about lung health and respiratory therapists have a look at Respiratory Cram
Start exercising today
There are many simple exercises that can improve your lung function. You can practice diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly-breathing, or engage in regular aerobics. Diaphragmatic breathing is particularly useful for people with COPD as it has been shown to help relieve symptoms of shortness of breath by emptying the lungs of trapped air. As you improve your exercise capacity, the efficiency with which oxygen is transported to your muscles will also improve. This will improve you exercise tolerance and give you more energy to do the things you love every day.
Stay away from air-polluted environments
Be mindful of your environment and the potential lung irritants you are exposing yourself to. Some of these irritants, such as radon and smog make your lung age faster and deteriorate. Dust your home regularly and ensure your room is well ventilated with fresh air.
Ensure you eat foods that have rich antioxidant content such as vitamin C or Vitamin E. These antioxidants reduce the impact of oxidizing organisms in your lungs. An example of such foods is dark chocolate. Eating more dark chocolate is advice most of us will be happy to take.
Flu and pneumonia is a frequent and serious cause of lung infections. Vaccination against flu and pneumonia are recommended for people 65-years and older. Avoiding crowds of people during cold and flu season can also help prevent lung infections.
Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated helps thin mucous and makes it easier to clear from your lungs. Water is the best source of hydration, however natural fruit juices, milk, decaffeinated coffee, and broth soups are other healthy options to consider. In general, staying away from alcohol and caffeine drinks is advisable to avoid dehydration.
Maintain proper Hygiene
As common as it may sound, washing your hands regularly helps you avoid lung infections. Just the simple habit of keeping your hands clean with warm water and soap helps to improve your lung health. Dental hygiene is also important. According to COPD.net, people with poor dental hygiene are more likely to develop lung infections than people with good dental hygiene
The bottom line
Though as we get older, our lung function declines, the good news is adopting healthy habits can improve lung function in most people, or at least slow the rate at which lung function may decline. Try these 7 simple tips to improve your lung health today to stay happy and healthy.
Happy lungs, happy life!