Lung capacity is the total amount of air that your lungs can hold in one breathe. With time this will typically decrease, after your 20s. But with the sudden lifestyle changes, it tends to accelerate the process. Lungs disorder like COPD, Bronchitis, Asthma can significantly reduce its holding capacity. Most people want to get healthy but they focus on their weight loss. Rather, you should concentrate on your lung health.
Fortunately there are exercises and food products that when done regularly can help maintain lungs health. And get your body the oxygen that it needs. Here are a few things that you can try to simply achieve this goal.
1. Stop Smoking :
“Smoking Kills” is a phrase rightly said so. You already know that smoking causes cancer, what you don’t know is that, it also narrows down your airway passage. So literally with time, it will choke you to death. This might sound horrific but are true facts. Also, Smoking is associated with most of the lungs disorder. If not directly it acts as a trigger factor for conditions like emphysema, bronchial asthma, COPD etc.,. It increases the disease severity by 15 to 20 times. Every time you smoke a cigarette, bidi or hookah you are inhaling thousands of chemicals. Including carbon monoxide, nicotine and tar. Moreover passive smoking is real, if you are near a smoker, you are also inhaling the same stuff that he is.
With time the mucous secretion increases, closing the airway and makes it difficult to breath. So its not too late to quit smoking. It seems difficult at first, but with proper therapy and intervention you will be able to stop smoking.
2. Exercise :
After pandemic most of the work force was suggested to work from home. This made us lazy and inactive. Regular exercising, brisk walk, cardio or jogging will not only help you to get in shape but also increase your lungs capacity. Studies have shown that pace walking for 45-60 mins everyday will reduce the chance of cardio vascular diseases by 60 percent. When you are exercising your heart rate increases, pumps more blood and over all lung health gets better. The more you exercise the more you are making your lungs efficient. As they deliver higher amount of oxygen to the muscles, the progression of lung diseases and fibrosis decreases.
3. Yoga :
This age old traditional technique includes several poses and deep breathing exercises. Few of these yoga asanas are:
- Bow Pose : Also called as Dhanurasana, improves capacity of lungs and boosts strength.
- Anulom Vilom : Aka Pranayam is Nothing but plain breathing in and out. This is usually done early morning after waking up, It reduces stress, improves concentration and digestion and calms our mind. start by doing 10 rounds then work your way up.
- Kapal bhati : It is a technique with slow inhalation and short but forceful exhalation using abdominal muscles. Commonly known as Breath of fire, it improves respiratory functions, removes toxins, mucous & bodily wastes. This clears up your lungs by taking out its mucous and gunk, and even improves skin texture.
4. Food for Lungs :
Nutrition and Diet is a crucial part for improving lung health. Include more antioxidants into your diet and here are some food items that might help your lung health –
- Beetroot : Packed with anti inflammatory and micro nutrients, it is good for your lung health. You should have a diet that is rich in micro nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
- Peppers : Include Bell peppers and freshly grounded black peppers into your diet. They are packed in antioxidants and vitamin C.
- Apples : Try having an apple a day and don’t throw away the peeled skin. As it contains fibers and minerals.
- Pumpkins : are rich in carotenoids and promote lung health.
- Turmeric : This herb is an all in one star but predominantly contains curcumin. Try buying local grown turmeric when in season. This promotes overall health and boosts immunity.
- Tomato : It is the most abundant source of Lycopene, that slows the decline of lung function in ex – smokers.
- Berries : A few examples being Jamun, Falsa, Amla, Goji, Karonda etc.,. are loaded with anti oxidants & micronutrients. Not only they are delicious but they preserve and protect your lungs.
- Green Tea : It has catechin in it and has anti inflammatory actions
- Olive Oil : With powerful health benefits, it has great quantities of vitamin E, anti oxidant and anti inflammatory contents.
- Dahi ( Yoghurt) : It promotes gut health with its good bacteria and probiotics. With that has lung preserving properties. It should be incorporated in your daily diet as a form of dessert.
- Coffee & Cocoa : In moderation, these two boosts both energy levels and lung function. Cocoa contains theobromine which is a mild muscle relaxant and helps relax the airway.
5. Avoid Exposure to Pollutants & Prevent Infections :
Increased air pollution, smog and various other kinds of pollution has made it difficult for us to breath. Even when indoors, the air is damaging our lungs and accelerating ageing. These toxins can be resisted up to a certain extent when young, but with time you become more vulnerable. Thanks to corona we are wearing face masks outside, that protects us from the virus transmission and pollutants also. Also, try these few things :
- Don’t exercise near highways or traffic roads
- Avoid Passive Smoking
- Do regular dusting & deep cleaning twice a month.
- Improve indoor air quality by getting home plants. They are easy to take care and acts as air filters.
- Use facemasks when outside.
- Stay away from air fresheners and scented candles as they have chemicals in them. Instead use aromatherapy with diffusers and essential oils. They are safer, inexpensive and more effective.
- Indoor Ventilation is very important. Install adequate number of ceiling and exhaust fans in your home.
- Check with your doctor to diagnose any underlying condition or allergies.
- Wash your hands frequently to keep them clean. Get vaccinated and prevent yourself from getting infected.
6. Exercise for Lungs :
Your Diaphragm does the main heavy lifting while breathing. So you should try these exercises specially designed to strengthen this body part.
- Belly Breathing : This technique especially helps for people with COPD. You can ask your doctor or physiotherapist to show the correct way to do it. Or take the following steps –
I. Relax your shoulder and sit back
II. Then place one hand on your tummy another on your chest.
III. Take a deep Inhalation through your nose, feel the air gushing into your abdomen. Feel your stomach move.
IV. Then exhale with pursed lips, pressing onto your abdomen.
The Takeaway :
Try incorporating these 6 daily habits into your routine. Find time for yourself and focus on both your mental and physical health. Some of these might seem hard to do at first but gradually you and your lung health will improve. Because now, more than ever you need your body to perform at its best.
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