Many people have become more conscious of their health and well-being in recent years. Health can be a complex aspect to work on, though, and neglecting even one factor can impact your whole body.
Although many of us may focus on maintaining our weight, working out, or protecting our heart, lung health often gets neglected. However, protecting your lungs is as vital as any of the other tasks mentioned if you wish to improve your quality of life and prolong your lifespan. Neglecting lung health can lead to a host of health-related issues, which can sometimes be difficult to reverse. Moreover, lung diseases can be very dangerous, making preemptive action vital.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can protect your lungs, regardless of age. Making these few changes to your lifestyle can help you protect yourself in the long run. Try the following.
Be mindful of your environment
The environment around us and the air we breathe can have a significant impact on our lungs. Although powerful, our lungs are still fragile and need a healthy, clean environment to thrive. If you spend most of your time in unhealthy, polluted environments, your lungs are likely to experience immense strain during breathing. Apart from supplying the body with oxygen, our lungs also remove harmful substances from the air. Polluted environments mean your lungs will have to work harder and can become damaged over time. So be mindful of the air you breathe in and wear protective equipment if you work in an environment that makes you prone to developing lung disease.
Although many of us know the risk of air pollution to our health, we may not recognize other, more harmful substances that can harm our lungs. Asbestos is a deadly fiber used in construction, mechanics, and various other industries that can cause mesothelioma, a deadly lung cancer. It can take many years to manifest. Hence construction industry workers, military personnel, and those mechanics need to be extra careful of their environment to protect their lungs.
When we think of exercise, many benefits come to mind. Exercise is an excellent way to keep your body toned and strong, and it can help boost mood and self-image too. In addition, exercise can be an excellent way to improve lung health. Aerobic exercise, in particular, is an amazing way to increase your lung capacity. Aerobic activity gets your heart pumping much faster, which means your body requires greater oxygen than usual. Hence the lungs adapt to meet the increased demand for oxygenated blood.
When you’re breathing up to 40-60 times per minute as you exercise, your lungs gradually become conditioned to working harder. This increased lung efficiency can help you work out for longer and can help you take on strenuous activities. Moreover, regular exercise can help you protect your lungs even as you age. Stronger lungs are better developed to resist lung disease, and even if you do encounter issues as you age, your lungs can recover much faster.
Smoking is easily one of the leading causes of lung disease and, with time, can wreak havoc on your body’s air sacks. Cigarette smoking can seem quite benign compared to other, harder drugs, but the truth is the contrary. In reality, cigarette smoke contains several chemicals that can destroy your lungs. Nicotine can cause dependency, whereas chemicals and substances such as tar and carbon monoxide can irritate your lungs and lead to the development of fibrosis, making breathing difficult. With time, these substances can increase mucus secretions and cause heavy build-ups. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is fatal, and smokers are 10-13 times likelier to die from it than non-smokers.
Quitting smoking is no easy task, but it’s possible to stick to your plan. In the initial stages, withdrawal symptoms can be challenging to manage, but you can break the habit with time. Even if you’re quitting after years of smoking, you can still undo much of the damage done to your lungs.
Keep up with your doctor
We only head to the doctor when we feel like something’s seriously wrong with our health. However, if you want to maintain optimal lung health (and physical health in general), you must walk in for regular doctor’s checkups. In many situations, there can be something seriously wrong within our bodies, but you might not realize it until it’s too late. Lung disease, in particular, can be insidious and may spread before you start experiencing symptoms.
Most lung disease symptoms can seem inconsequential, such as persistent cough, chest pain, scratchy throats, etc. It can be even more helpful to pay close attention to any changes in normal lung functioning as you age. Heading to a doctor on time can help you detect infections or diseases early and ward them off before they cause harm. Moreover, it’s important to keep up with vaccination schedules and other medication to prevent lung diseases.
Everyday life can get so hectic that you can find it challenging to make time to relax and breathe. However, taking on all this extra stress is bad for your mental and physical well-being. Mindful breathing exercises are an excellent way of slowing down and letting your body recharge. It can be an incredibly refreshing activity that can help you restore your lungs and use them to their full capacity.
You can try several breathing exercises to open up your lungs and enhance their capacity. You can combine rhythmic breathing with yoga to ground yourself, open up your chest and expand lung capacity. Moreover, diaphragmatic breathing can help you strengthen your diaphragm and increase the oxygen generated by your lungs. Nasal breathing can also be exceptionally helpful, especially if you struggle with asthma. With consistent effort, breathing exercises can help you improve lung health exponentially.
In many ways, healthy lungs can pave the way for a healthier body and an improved quality of life. Lungs help fuel the body, and working on strengthening them and expanding their capacity can help you feel more energized. You can keep a host of lung diseases at bay by following these simple tips. Moreover, even if you encounter any signs and symptoms, don’t wait to get yourself checked.