We tend to take our lungs for granted, that is until we develop breathing difficulties. But even when living with a chronic lung disease, it’s important to look after these vital organs as best we can. The Rush University Medical Center has some useful advice to help keep your lungs as healthy as possible.
Change the way you breathe.
Most people tend to breathe in shallow breaths, not filling up the entire lung with air. Deep breathing and diaphragmatic breathing allow the lungs to fully inflate and deflate, helping to increase lung capacity and get more oxygen into the blood stream. Counting your breaths helps you determine how long you can inhale and exhale for which can also improve lung function. Try to match the time it takes to exhale with the time it takes to inhale — that way know you have emptied your lungs fully. Try to extend the amount of time it takes to inhale and exhale for maximum benefit.
Adopt good posture.
Allow your lungs the space they need to fully inflate and deflate by sitting and standing up straight. Hunching over pushes the stomach and other organs into the lungs. Sitting straight with your hands above your head, or leaning back and pushing out your chest from time to time will give your lungs extra room.
Drink lots of water.
Your lungs need water as much as the rest of your body. Staying hydrated helps the mucus lining in the lungs stay thin, which helps them perform better. If the mucus becomes too thick, it can lead to lung infections.
Laugh a lot.
Like the soul, laughing is good for the lungs. The action of laughing gives your abdomen and diaphragm a workout. Deep belly laughs help to force out stale air from the lungs.
Stay physically active.
Moderate exercise is excellent for maintaining lung health. Your lungs will thank you for just 20 minutes a day of exercise that leaves you slightly short of breath, like fast walking or cycling.
Join a breathers’ club.
The Better Breathers Club (which is run by the American Lung Foundation) is great for people who have compromised lung health. Pulmonary rehabilitation can also help to improve lung function for those living with lung diseases.
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