It is vital to take care not only of your immune system but also of your lung health, especially during the global pandemic. Like any other part of your body, lungs require a comprehensive approach as to their care, which means introducing several changes to your lifestyle – from physical activity to household chores.
Neglecting lung health will lead to an acceleration in the aging processes and severe lung diseases (like cancer). You may find yourself buying ventilators to breathe for you when your respiratory system fails. Below, you will find several tips for healthy lungs and disease prevention:
Manage Chronic Lung Diseases
It is vital to be aware of your chronic lung disease, if you happen to have one, and treat it correctly. Different lung infections may develop as a result of the chronic illness, so it is crucial to keep an eye on the symptoms and see a doctor in a timely fashion. Chronic lung diseases include:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- pulmonary hypertension
- chronic pneumonia
- respiratory allergies
- chronic bronchitis (has a serious risk of developing into COPD)
Working with a pulmonologist will allow you to determine individual management strategies and allergy treatments for maintaining healthy lungs. Another helpful solution is installing an appointment reminder software, as it will ensure that you see your doctor regularly.
Stop Smoking or Don’t Even Start
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “smoking at an early age increases the risk of lung cancer. For most smoking-related cancers, the risk rises as the individual continues to smoke. Cigarette smokers have a lower level of lung function than those persons who have never smoked. Smoking reduces the rate of lung growth.”
Besides lung cancer, smoking increases the risk of heart disease and stroke in adults. Moreover, passive smoking – inhaling someone’s smoking exhalations (secondhand smoke or environmental tobacco smoke) – can also damage your lungs, increase the risk of respiratory illness, and cause lung cancer.
Despite the fact that numerous studies confirm these consequences and tobacco brands even put warning labels on their cigarette packs, they are commonly neglected. Remember that quitting smoking will improve your lung health and the health of the people around you.
Learn Deep Breathing Techniques
This may sound weird, as breathing is perhaps the most natural and unconscious of all our biological processes, but there is a high possibility that you breathe improperly. Shallow breathing – when you breathe, moving only the chest – does not fully use the lungs. As a result, their capacity reduces.
For good lung function, it is necessary to take deep breaths, involving not only your chest but also the abdomen. Doing deep breathing exercises, for example, breath focus or lion’s breath, will keep your lungs healthy and, additionally, help manage your stress and anxiety levels.
Avoid Pollutants and Noxious Fumes
Increased exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants may cause rapid aging, worsening symptoms of chronic lung diseases, and make you more susceptible to infections. If you live in a big city, it may be challenging to reduce the negative impact completely. Still, make sure to acquire some helpful habits to protect your respiratory system from harmful substances and dust. Here is what you can do:
- Keep it clean. Make sure to air out all rooms in your house or apartment regularly and thoroughly, and sweep and mop at least once a week. This will allow you to avoid the acceleration of indoor air pollutants that, according to the American Lung Association, consist of pet dander, radon, asbestos, household chemicals, and many more.
- In winter, during the heating season, monitor the level of humidity in the air. Using humidifiers will help maintain an optimal level of 50-60%, if necessary.
- Wash your hands thoroughly. This is the surest way to prevent catching a virus during flu season and especially now, during the COVID-19 pandemic – all you need is soap and water.
- If there is polluted air in your workplace, consider using protective equipment.
- Install an app that shows air pollution levels to avoid going out during peak times.
Sticking to these simple rules will help you maintain your lung health and will positively contribute to your overall well-being.
Regular physical activity will keep not only your figure but also your lungs in good shape. During training, the heartbeat accelerates, breathing becomes heavier – your lungs become activated and begin to deliver oxygen to the body more intensively while simultaneously removing carbon dioxide gas.
Introduce half an hour of cardio exercises such as running, riding a bicycle, intensive walking, and many outdoor sports – from swimming to football – into your daily routine to improve your lung health.
Keeping your lungs healthy requires sticking to some simple yet effective habits. Moreover, if you ensure you get enough fresh air, take care of your physical well-being, and do breathing exercises regularly, you will see a positive impact on your mental health as well.
It is vital to be mindful of your indoor air condition, as often it has an even more harmful impact than outdoor air. Minimizing environmental factors is crucial, so deciding to quit active smoking will not be enough – make sure to avoid areas with secondhand smoke as well. The same applies to environments with a high chance of harboring germs – ensure any possible infection will not reach your lungs.
With all these lung health tips implemented to your daily routine, you get the chance to live not only a longer but also a fuller life.