Just like any other important organ in our bodies, the lungs age over time and lose some of their efficiency. The lungs can become less flexible and lose strength. The overall effect is that breathing becomes more difficult.
Our breath literally gives life, so keeping our ability to breathe easily is critical to Active Wellness and a high-quality lifestyle. Here are some key behaviors to help keep our lungs functioning properly:
• Never smoke. If you do, find a way to stop. Seek the help of a professional if necessary. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, more than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the U.S. during its history. In addition, smoking causes about 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and women.1 Smoking also causes the lungs to age more rapidly. The good news is, according to the American Lung Association, within just 12 hours of quitting smoking, carbon monoxide levels in the blood drops to normal, and within a few months, lung function begins to improve. Within a year, the risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.2
• Exercise regularly. We think about exercise in terms of maintaining a comfortable weight, keeping muscle tone and optimizing cardiovascular health. The truth is, regular exercise is key to the health of our lungs. Just as the heart beats faster during exercise, the lungs work harder, too. The body requires more oxygen during exercise, and the lungs increase their activity level to deliver that necessary oxygen while expelling additional carbon dioxide. Breathing increases from about 15 times a minute to approximately 40 to 60 times a minute, giving the lungs a real workout.3 Try to do something active for 30 minutes daily to lighten the load on the lungs and to help increase the efficiency of oxygen transportation and metabolism.4Strengthening the lungs with regular exercise helps improve immunity and resist aging.
• Avoid exposure to pollutants. Stay away from smokers to avoid breathing in secondhand smoke. Keep your windows rolled up when in heavy traffic to avoid breathing in exhaust fumes.
• When driving, avoid idling the car for long periods of time (a minute is a very long time when idling, so keep it to 10 seconds or less) to help prevent noxious air. Many newer car models automatically turn the ignition off when idling for more than a few seconds.
• The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that indoor pollution is typically worse than outdoor. To help decrease indoor pollutants, open windows to keep air circulating, ban smoking indoors, keep dust to a minimum, use natural cleaners such as Kenzen® Surface Cleaner as much as possible, avoid synthetic air fresheners and make sure exhaust hoods and other ventilation methods are adequate.
• Wash your hands frequently. Keeping hands clean is the easiest way to help prevent lung infections.
• Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruits and vegetables, because they contain nutrients that help boost the immune system.
• Cover your coughs to help stop the spread of germs. Get plenty of rest, eat well and keep stress levels under control to overcome any viral or bacterial infections.5
• When working where there are known pollutants, wear a mask, such as the Kenzen® Face Mask. Avoid breathing in toxic fumes from chemicals, solvents, paints, excessive amounts of dusk, fumes, smoke, gas, vapors or mists.6
• Breathe deeply. Most of us take shallow breaths from the chest area, but this only utilizes a small portion of our lungs. On the other hand, deep breathing helps clear the lungs and allows for full oxygen intake and expulsion of carbon dioxide. Be conscious of your breath and it is noticeable that deep breathing feels invigorating as well as relaxing.
1, 2, 3 healthline.com/health/understanding-idiopathic-pulmonary-fibrosis/ways-to-keep-your-lungs-healthy-and-whole#4.-Prevent-infections