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Five Steps to Improve Lung Health

Keeping the lungs healthy is important for living a long, healthy life. Without healthy lungs, the body cannot receive the amount of oxygen it needs to function properly. This can lead to low levels of energy, fatigue and increased risk of health problems. Learning how to take care of the lungs will help prevent problems from arising later in life.

1. Avoid toxins as much as possible. When cleaning, use natural products and leave the windows open to allow fresh air in the house. In the garden, find natural alternatives to harmful pesticides. Breathing in chemicals can cause damage to the lungs over time. Check the house for mold and asbestos that are extremely toxic. Avoid smoking cigarettes or cigars, as well as second hand smoke. Smoking or being exposed to cigarette smoke can severely damage the lungs, leading to diseases such as COPD, asthma, emphysema and lung cancer.

2. Breathing and exercise are important to healthy lungs. Regular exercise keeps the lungs functioning properly while maintaining a healthy weight that eases pressure on the lungs to perform. While exercising forces air through the lungs helping them expand, excessive aerobic exercise can have the opposite effect.

Aerobic exercise causes short, shallow breathing that does not allow the lungs to expand fully. When this is the only exercise being done for long periods of time, the lungs can shrink and become unable to fill with oxygen. Exercising for short bursts followed by short rests allows the lungs to benefit from the aerobic exercise while still fully expanding. Breathing techniques such as those used in yoga are beneficial because they focus on controlling the breaths, allowing the lungs to fill with oxygen and be released slowly.

3. Good posture ensures that the lungs have enough room to expand, allowing deep breathing. When a person slouches, the lungs don’t have enough room to expand. The body doesn’t receive enough oxygen, causing fatigue, which causes more slouching. Maintaining good posture reverses this process, providing energy while strengthening the muscles in the upper body.

4. Listen to your lungs. When a cough persists, lungs feel restricted or full breaths can not be taken, don’t ignore it. Seek medical attention to determine the problem. Untreated illnesses can cause scarring of the lung and decrease lung function over time. Serious conditions can lead to death, so be aware of what is normal and what may be signs of something serious. If asthma exists, take care of it. Use the breathing machine or inhalers when necessary and directed by a physician to ensure healthy lungs.

5. Allergies can cause breathing problems in many people. During allergy season, limit time spent near the allergen when possible. Speak with a doctor about allergy medicines that will work and take as directed. Use humidifiers when necessary to put moisture into dry air which can irritate the lungs. Air purifiers are a great way to filter the air in the house, controlling allergies.

Taking a few precautions to protect the lungs can drastically improve lung health. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of these vital organs and forget that they need to be taken care of. Preventing disease by changing the way one breathes, exercises and maintains posture can increase the quality and length of life by producing healthier lungs.