The Coronavirus pandemic has reminded us all of how important it is to keep our lungs healthy. It doesn’t take much effort, either—just a little bit of time and mindfulness. Here are 5 easy and useful tips for healthy lungs.
1. Don’t Smoke or Vape
Cigarette smoke can damage your lung tissue, narrow your airways, and cause lung diseases like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and cancer. You may think that vaping is a better alternative, but e-cigarettes contain some of the same toxic chemicals as regular cigarettes. This includes nicotine, which can harden your arteries and cause addiction to smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.
2. Exercise Weekly to Strengthen Your Lungs
Did you know that exercise can actually strengthen your heart and lungs? When you exercise, your muscles demand more oxygen, so your lungs have to work harder to supply it. When the lungs work harder, they become stronger. The diaphragm and muscles in your ribs that help you breathe also strengthen with exercise. In a sense, exercise helps you increase lung capacity.
What kind of exercise will benefit your lungs? The American Lung Association recommends a brisk walk, a bike ride, Pilates, or weightlifting. You can also garden or clean the house vigorously. The goal is just to do some moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
3. Practice Deep Breathing for Healthy Lungs
Deep breathing exercises can help you feel relaxed. It also flushes stale air out of your lungs and brings fresh air in. The easiest way to practice deep breathing is to count to two while you inhale through your nose. Then, count to four as you exhale through your mouth with pursed lips.
4. Avoid Exposure to Air Pollutants to Protect Your Lungs
Pollutants are found in the air, both indoors and outdoors. Although it can be tough to completely avoid them, there are some steps you can take to minimize your exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution.
- Secondhand smoke is as dangerous as smoking itself, so keep away from areas designated for smokers and don’t let anyone smoke inside your home or car.
- Use green cleaners or household cleaners made with fewer toxic chemicals.
- Get your home checked for radon every two years, which is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
- Keep the humidity in your home low. High humidity can create mold, which can cause allergies and respiratory issues.
- Use a HEPA filter to remove allergens, particles, and debris from the air in your home.
- Check the U.S. Air Quality Index before you go outside. If the pollution level is high, limit the amount of time you spend outside.
5. Prevent Illness to Keep Your Lungs Strong
There are many easy precautions you can take to avoid respiratory illness like the flu or pneumonia. Wash your hands often and don’t touch your face. Avoid large crowds and close contact with strangers. Stay hydrated and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, particularly those high in vitamin C. You can also get shots to prevent the flu and pneumonia.
Do you already know the importance of lung health? You could build a rewarding career as a respiratory therapist. At YTI Career Institute in Altoona, PA, we can train you for this career through a blend of in-class learning and hands-on experience. To learn more about our Respiratory Therapy program, contact us today.