Your lungs do amazing work every day. They absorb oxygen from the air you breathe in and supply it to your blood, allowing you to work, play, and live well. They also remove carbon dioxide, a waste gas that your body does not need.
Like your heart, joints, and other parts of the body, your lungs also age with time. But there are many things you can do to keep your lungs healthy and working properly, even as you age:
Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke
The most important thing you can do for your lungs is to quit smoking or better yet, never start.
Every time you smoke a cigarette, a large number of chemicals enter your lungs, including nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar. These toxins damage your lungs.
The more you smoke, the greater your risk of developing serious diseases, including lung cancer and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
Moreover, two-thirds of the smoke from a cigarette is not inhaled by the smoker, but enters the air around the smoker. This secondhand smoke is also extremely harmful to your lungs. Try and stay away from other smokers as much as you can.
Avoid exposure to outdoor pollution
- The air you breathe on a day to day basis can affect the working of your lungs. Air pollution can damage your lungs and cause health problems.
- Avoid highly polluted and industrialised areas. The large amount of vehicle exhaust and other pollutants in these areas can harm your lungs.
- Keep your surroundings clean and fresh. Don’t use pesticides and other chemicals in your garden. Avoid burning wood or trash.
- Certain jobs, like those in construction and waste management, can increase the risk of exposure to airborne pollutants, such as dust, paint fumes, and toxic chemicals. Take all possible safety precautions.
Improve the quality of indoor air
- Mould and dust can accumulate on the furniture and elsewhere, get into your lungs and cause irritation. Keep your home as clean and dry as possible.
- Chemicals from home cleaning supplies, detergents, and bleaches as well as synthetic air fresheners and candles can irritate your lungs or trigger conditions such as asthma. Use only safe, natural products and with proper ventilation.
- Decorate your home with greenery. Houseplants have a natural ability to get rid of toxins from the air and are one of the easiest ways to improve indoor air quality.
- Use an air purifier, if necessary, which can help remove dust, smoke, and other pollutants from the air.
- Overall, make sure that your home is well ventilated and you’re getting lots of fresh, clean air inside.
Practice deep breathing
Deep breathing is something you should be doing all day every day, but something you forget to do.
You usually take shallow breaths, using only a small portion of your lungs. Shallow breaths come from the chest, and deeper breaths come from the belly.
Breathing deeply uses the entire capacity of your lungs and gets more oxygen into your body. Blood that is rich in oxygen helps you feel better and gives you more energy.
Deep breathing exercises, such as those in yoga, help make your lungs more strong and efficient. They also help clear out toxins that may have built up in your lungs.
Get regular exercise
Aerobic exercises (walking, cycling, swimming etc) provide the best workout for your lungs.
When you exercise, your muscles work a lot more and your body uses more oxygen. To deliver that oxygen, your breathing rate increases and your lungs work harder.
Therefore, regular exercise improves your lung capacity. The more you exercise, the more efficient, strong, and healthy your lungs become.
Lung infections, like pneumonia, can sometimes become very serious, especially as you get older. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to protect yourself:
- Proper hygiene helps prevent common infections like cold and flu, that affect your lungs. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Avoid crowded places, especially during the cold and flu season.
- Get vaccinated. Vaccines are a good way to lower your risk of lung infections.
- Drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. They contain antioxidants and other nutrients that help boost your immune system.
- Lung diseases, sometimes go undetected until they become serious. Don’t forget to get regular health checkups, so that any infection can be detected early.
Disclaimer: All material on Hidoc.co is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute for professional medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions regarding your symptoms or medical condition and before taking any home remedies or supplements.