Our lungs are an important part of our body as it helps to keep us strong and healthy throughout our life. Well, in our day-to-day lives we do not take much care of our lungs until we experience breathing problems. Having healthy lungs is equally important as anything else because the ongoing pandemic has taught us the repercussions of negligence that we do with our body. The more negligent we are, the most worsen our health will be. Having healthy lungs is very important in life and this can only be possible with proper exercise and adopting an active lifestyle while keeping every unfair means such as smoking, pollutants and other risk factors away. With the help of this article, we will try to figure out some of the best exercises for healthy lungs.
Ways to Keep Your Lungs Healthy
Every cell which is present in our body needs oxygen to stay healthy and alive. Whereas the carbon dioxide that we exhale is a waste made by the cells during their normal functioning. This wastage in the form of carbon dioxide has no use in our bodies and should be kept out. This process of taking fresh oxygen from outside and moving out the waste product is primarily done by our lungs. Our lungs are designed in such a manner, that it helps our body to make this particular process efficiently, every time we breathe in and out. This is the job of healthy lungs that should be done normally, any discrepancies towards this functioning will lead to various problems.
- Quit Smoking – Smoking is dangerous for our lungs, as it includes many harmful chemicals i.e., nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar. These are toxins and damage our lungs in the utmost way. Smoking increases mucus in our lungs, thus making it difficult for our lungs to clean themselves. Besides all, breathing airways in our body narrow gradually, making it difficult for us to breathe. To have healthy lungs smoking should be quit at the earliest.
- Keep out from Pollutants – As global warming is depleting the need for clean and fresh air from the earth, we should be extra cautious to protect our lungs, whenever we move out. As the environment is exposed to pollutants in the air, chances seem high of damaging our lungs. Well, it might not be affecting some, but as we get older, our resistance power tends to lose, making us more vulnerable to infections and diseases. As our environment is filled with life-threatening pollutants, in such a condition it is our responsibility to take utmost care of ourselves to have healthy lungs.
- Preventing Infections – Infections or the recent pandemic has taught us to be extra cautious to save our lungs. No matter what the infection is, it will be dangerous for us especially when we age. A prolonged lung disease will certainly lead us to the path of risk for infections. Well, right from the beginning we can do some homework, to evade any vulnerable infections to enter our lungs. The best way is the same that has been known by us right from the time when the global pandemic has begun. Wash hands regularly with soap and warm water, and avoid touching your face before washing. Maintaining social distancing in a place that is crowded and always wearing a mask to keep ourselves safe from any external hazards. These are some of the practices that you should follow to maintain healthy lungs throughout your life.
Top 10 Exercises to Have Healthy Lungs
1.) Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercise is one of the best exercises for healthy lungs. Performing this workout makes your large muscle groups move at a rhythmic speed. It also strengthens your heart and lungs, and also plays a pivotal role in improving the overall endurance of your body. Besides all, aerobics enhances your breathing capacity because your body will be able to use oxygen more efficiently during every inhale and exhale that you do. Some examples of aerobic exercises for healthy lungs are spinning, swimming, running, walking, hiking, dance classes, skiing, kickboxing etc.
2.) Jumping Jacks
Jumping Jacks are one of the best exercises for healthy lungs. Being one of the best workouts, jumping jacks is the one that you should consider for yourself. Jumping jack consists of rigorous moves which provide you with good cardio, allowing a better workout for your heart and lungs. Performing this will allow you to lose weight, and balances your heart rate and blood pressure levels. Considering this exercise for healthy lungs will offer you an array of benefits in the future. Performing jumping jacks will train your lungs to expand their full capacity, thus taking in more oxygen and increasing your threshold for physical activity.
3.) Belly Breathing
Belly breathing is one of the best exercises for healthy lungs. Belly breathing or abdominal breathing is an exercise that is treated best for the lungs. Practising this exercise allows strengthen your abdominal muscle and offers to train your brain to breathe from your diaphragm, not from your chest. A diaphragm or belly breathing is a breathing process from our diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle that sits between the chest and the abdomen and helps our lungs to fill with air by moving down and then pushing air out of the lungs as it moves backwards. While performing this exercise helps to strengthen our diaphragm muscles and our lungs.
Yoga is one of the best exercises for healthy lungs. A meticulous exercise like yoga will certainly be a stress buster and a boon to having healthy lungs. It has been observed that practising yoga will ease your health, anxiety and physical tension. The controlled breathing pattern in yoga will keep you mentally and physically strong, thus allowing your lungs to intake more air, compare to normal circumstances. By just performing yoga all the health concerns, whether it’s related to staying fit or any sought of respiratory problems will certainly be at bay. However, practised from traditions, yoga improves your strength, balance and flexibility, and also has many health benefits to evade cardiovascular and lung diseases.
Exercising with a stationary bike is one of the best exercises for healthy lungs. A stationary bike can work well for people with COPD. You can pedal away in the privacy of your home. In a gym or rehab setting, you can find supervision and meet people. Ask the instructor before jumping into a group cycling class, to be sure it matches your ability. As you improve, try a spin outside on a traditional bike and soak up the scenery. If any exercise makes you short of breath, stop and sit down for a few minutes.
6.) Chair Dance
Chair Dance is one of the best exercises for healthy lungs. If you love to dance, try this armchair version in a class or with a DVD at home. Different programs can get your heart pumping, pump up your muscles, or both to all kinds of music, from big band to hip hop. Beginners might start with a class to learn the safest ways to swing and bend. Adding hand weights can increase the challenge and your fitness level.
7.) Tai Chi
Tai Chi is one of the best exercises for healthy lungs. Tai Chi an ancient Chinese practice of gentle, flowing movements is a winner for people with COPD. It’s a mild workout for your heart and lungs and helps tone your muscles. It also eases stress and helps you relax, a special benefit if your COPD makes you anxious or edgy.
8.) Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic Breathing is one of the best exercises for healthy lungs. This is one of the belly breathing exercises to be performed when you are rested or relaxed. First, do abdominal breathing by lying on the back with the knees bend and the head on a pillow for support. You must place one hand on the upper chest and the other below the rib cage. Start to inhale slowly through the nose and feel the stomach on the hands. Then exhale as you tighten the stomach muscles with the lips pursed. Next, increase the difficulty level by sitting on a chair and performing it. Perform diaphragmatic breathing exercises for 5 to 10 minutes about 3 to 4 times a day. Over time you will get used to this abdominal breathing, and the technique will become very easy.
9.) Pursed-Lip Breathing
Pursed-Lip Breathing is one of the best exercises for healthy lungs. Pursed-lip breathing lung exercises are easy to do and can be done anywhere at any time. The exercise involves inhaling, slowly, through the nose and exhaling through pursed lips. The goal is to take twice as long to breathe out as to breathe in, so if you inhale for five seconds, you’ll want to exhale for 10 seconds.
10.) Rib Stretch
Rib Stretch is one of the best exercises for healthy lungs. The rib stretch does exactly what it says, stretching or expanding the ribs, which helps your lungs take in as much air as possible. This lung exercise requires you to be standing, upright with your hands on your hips. Slowly inhale air until your lungs fill to capacity. Hold your breath for 20 seconds or for however long is comfortable and then exhale slowly. Relax and then repeat three more times. When done regularly, rib stretches help you take more air into your lungs and exhale fully so stale air doesn’t build up in the lungs.
Apart from exercise, diet is equally responsible to maintain healthy lungs. As far as diet is concerned, dietary intake of antioxidants helps to contribute to the neutralization of free radicals that are responsible for destroying our lung cells. This destruction of our lung cells by free radicals can lead to cancer and poor lung health. To make our lungs healthy, exercise and diet are parallelly required. A diet containing antioxidants can combat oxidation in our bodies. This oxidation often builds up due to stress, alcohol and smoking. Containing such habits will enhance the development of free radicals which are highly dangerous and potent to cause cancer. Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules and can multiply in excess if the body is lacking enough antioxidants. In such a case free radicals break down into cells and cause oxidative stress to the body. Oxidative stress causes damage to the cell’s structure, proteins, and lipids. An antioxidant-rich diet remarkably helps to neutralize free radicals that damage lung cells. Thus, it is pivotal to consume foods packed with antioxidants to promote overall lung health.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.