Most people want to stay healthy. Rarely, though, do they think about the role of the lungs in their health. It’s not until they experience trouble breathing that they take notice of any impending problems.
Your lungs are always at work. They work 24/7 to ensure that your body receives the oxygen it needs to keep you alive. That translates to 12 to 20 breaths per minute, around 20,000 breaths per day, or 6 million breaths per year. Thus, your lungs never clock out.
Like any other organ of your body, your lungs also age with time. They can become weak and lose their capacity and flexibility, making it hard for you to breathe easily. Poor lung health can negatively impact your quality of life. However, you can maintain the optimal functioning of your body’s airbags by adopting a few healthy habits. We’ve listed some below to help you keep your lungs going strong for life.
Breathe in cleaner air
Exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants can damage your lungs and make them age faster. You can improve your indoor air quality by washing linens, dusting furniture, vacuuming the house, and timely replacing your air filters. Replacing filters is especially important if you have indoor pets. It helps to remove pet hair, which can be a nuisance for your lungs. Also, check your house to identify entryways of radon. Radon is a common cause of lung cancer.
Similarly, try to reduce your exposure to outdoor pollutants. Avoid inhaling secondhand smoke, car exhaust, and other contaminants like asbestos at work. Asbestos leads to the development of an extremely rare but fatal variant of lung cancer known as mesothelioma. If you’re a construction worker or live in a house constructed before 1980, read up on what is mesothelioma and gain an insight into the causes, prognosis, and treatment of this disease. Here’s a pro-tip: always keep your safety equipment on when working in an environment that may have airborne microfibrils of this menace of a mineral.
People who smoke cigarettes are more prone to lung cancer than non-smokers. Smoking may also lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Every time you smoke, you inhale a lot of carcinogens. These toxins increase mucus, causing the airways to become thin, allowing less air to pass through and cause difficulty while breathing. Also, secondhand smoke affects the people around you. No matter how long you have been a smoker, you can always benefit from quitting. Although quitting is hard for chain smokers, but it’s worth it. Individuals can start by using nicotine patches and joining support groups.
Regular exercise can work like a charm for your lung health. Physical activity not only strengthens your lungs but also increases your capacity to breathe in more air and pump oxygen inside. However, daily activities might not be enough to stimulate your lungs. So, try to engage in physical activities and exercises that increase your heart rate and make you breathe deeper. If you find yourself struggling with breathing, try breathing exercises like deep breathing and purse-lipped breathing exercises. Experts recommend exercising for at least 30 minutes every day, five days a week. So, create a schedule that works best for you.
Eating unhealthy and inflammatory foods can take a toll on this pair of your vital organs. Healthy foods contribute to maintaining the optimal functioning of your lungs. Foods rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, beetroot, fish, olive oil, pepper, milk, etc., improve pulmonary health and keep disease symptoms at bay. Iron also helps carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of the body. Hence, ensure you’re getting your day’s worth supply of this mineral. You can select lung cleansing foods that suit your taste and make a healthy diet plan.
Avoid respiratory infections
A cold, cough or other respiratory infections can at times prove to be fatal for your lungs, especially as you age. People already having lung diseases, or those who are immunocompromised, are particularly at risk of infections. You can fend off such infections by adopting some hygienic tips, including:
- Washing your hands properly with soap and using hand sanitizers
- Maintaining good oral hygiene
- Getting vaccinated
Brewing up some antioxidant tea and consuming detox water can also help bolster your immune system and fight infections.
Try a laugher workout
Every person needs a good laugh from time to time. Aside from relieving stress and enhancing your mood, laughing can provide a workout for your respiratory system. Laughing pushes stale air out of your lungs and expands alveoli, thus allowing more oxygen to enter them. This practice keeps your lungs in good shape.
Staying hydrated is just as important for your lungs as for the rest of the body. When your mouth is dry, your airways also become dry. Your natural lung cleaning system also doesn’t work well when you are dehydrated. Taking in fluids throughout the day keeps the mucosal lining of your lungs thin. This thin mucosal lining helps your lungs to function well.
Get regular health check-ups
Pay a visit to your doctor at least once after every three months. These check-ups can scan for any irregularities that might not have yet manifested into physical symptoms. These undetected issues may stir up serious health concerns later. Instead of waiting until you are sick, prioritize your lung health and get yourself examined regularly. Early detection of chronic lung diseases can help you manage the treatment more effectively.
Your lungs work all day to keep you alive and healthy. Therefore, it is essential to take care of them to ensure longevity. You can pay them back by incorporating few healthy habits into your daily routine, such as reducing exposure to pollutants, quitting smoking, exercising, eating healthy, preventing infections, staying hydrated, and getting regular check-ups. These few habits can do wonders for your lung health. Alongside keeping you alive, healthy lungs will help you stay active and improve the overall quality of your life.