Look After Your Lungs

Look After Your Lungs

We don’t need to tell you just how important your lungs are; after all, you need them to breathe. However, many people don’t realise how essential it is to look after our respiratory systems, as a variety of factors can lead to both temporary and long-term damage. With each of us breathing about a dozen times every single minute (over 6.3 million times a year), the following tips will help you to maintain healthy lung function.


A smoke-free environment

It’s not so much smoke itself that harms our lungs, but more the chemicals that it contains. All forms of smoking and even inhaling secondary smoke can lead to negative effects and the inhibiting of lung function. As well as cancer and other potentially fatal conditions, smoking also significantly ages the lungs: a person who smokes one pack a day will have lungs a decade older than they should be by the time they turn 60. Quitting smoking prevents this from happening, and the damage can even be reversed if the lungs are given enough time to repair themselves.


Look after your weight

Being overweight can place added pressure on your lungs. Obesity can restrict the ability of the rib cage to expand, reducing lung capacity and leading to other health problems due to oxygen levels within the body being too low and carbon dioxide levels rising. Similar to quitting smoking, damage can be reversed by burning fat and maintaining a healthy weight.


Keep fit and active

Regular exercise is effectively a means of training your respiratory system to take in more oxygen. Highly aerobic activities such as swimming, cycling and running will improve your lungs’ capacity and function whilst also bringing numerous other health benefits.


Breathe in…

When you take a deep breath and hold it, your entire respiratory system becomes stronger and more effective. Think of your lungs as muscles rather than organs, in that you can make them stronger and more powerful through a daily workout. You could even take a deep breath and hold it for ten seconds twenty times a day, which proved successful in a study on increasing lung capacity.


Belt out a tune or practice The Cobra

Activities such as singing and yoga promote deep breathing and the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, helping to increase lung capacity. Singing has also been shown to help preserve lung function in people with lung disease, so it might be worth learning a few lyrics.


Don’t slouch

Bad posture limits the expansion of the rib cage, which restricts the base of the lungs from filling fully with air. The lungs gradually get used to this and develop an apical (upper chest) breathing pattern, which inhibits lung capacity further. When you take into account working at a desk, driving, watching TV and eating meals, you’ll realise how much time you actually spend sitting down.

To further build your respiratory system and increase lung capacity, contact Physio Med for professional advice and customised tips.

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