No one would argue with the fact that breathing is an essential function for optimal living. Yet, how many of us take our respiration and our lungs themselves for granted?
Respiration supplies oxygen to all your body’s cells on your inhalation and removes carbon dioxide as you exhale. If for any reason, your cells don’t get a sufficient supply of oxygen, your body is more prone to diseases and your mental health declines.
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago revealed that everyday activities only keep 50% of your lungs working. So how can we extend their capacity and strength? Well, it is not that difficult. Follow these simple 9 tips and see if you notice the difference:
1) Take Deep Breaths
Breathe in and breathe out. Words you might have heard in Yoga tutorials. Yes, it is that simple. Just take a deep breath with a gradual inhale intentionally move your belly outwards and let your ribs expand, allowing your chest to move upwards.
Focus on the movement of air as it enters your nose, passes through your trachea, and reaches your lungs. Then, exhale by reversing it all. Let your chest fall, relax your ribs and bring your tummy back to its original position. Make sure to expel every bit of air on the exhale. Repeat this process at least 6 times in a single session each day. You can experiment with this deep breathing process morning and night.
2) Be More Active
Exercise is beneficial for health whether it’s in the form of sports, swimming, gym or a jog around the park. Same is the case for your lungs. You might have noticed players being “out of breath” while playing football or running a marathon. As we all know, respiration is nothing but taking in oxygen and giving out carbon dioxide.
When you engage in any exercise you start repeating this process faster and that increases your lung’s efficiency and strength. So start taking part in any of these healthy activities and your mood will improve as your lungs get healthier. Win, Win situation!
3) Align Your Spine
When you slouch, you are actually making your lungs smaller by compressing them. Because unlike your bones, lungs are soft structures and they only occupy space that you make up for them.
So get a quick fix by straightening your back, aligning your shoulders, relaxing your belly and extending your skull upward. Aligning your posture, particularly your spine, will support your respiratory system. Be especially conscious of your posture when you’re sitting in front of a computer or TV.
4) Get more Vitamin D
A recent study revealed that consuming Vitamin D can help you to improve your respiration by increasing your lung capacity. You don’t have to make a beach day to get more sun. Just go outside more often. Take more walks. Go on a daily mini-hike. Eat your meals outside. You can also eat foods rich in vitamin D like fish oil, cow’s milk, or fortified orange juice. You can also find a high-quality vitamin D supplement at your local health food store.
5) Sing so the world can hear you!
Good news for bathroom singers! You are actually getting something out of it, and that’s your lungs increased efficiency. Recently, a study at the British Lung Foundation revealed that people with respiratory diseases have better conditions by controlling their breath while singing.
Also, a few of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients joined a choir and reported that their continuous short for breath feeling is reduced after group singing. There are special singing groups for people with breathing disorders running in the United Kingdom to help manage their symptoms better. Music does heal our bodies!
6) Stop Smoking (Active or Passive)
This is an obvious tip, but one worth repeating. Nothing affects your lungs more than a puff of a cigarette as each puff contains 40 to 75 ml of smoke. We all know smoking causes various respiratory diseases leading up to lung cancer.
So better stop puffing cigarettes now and even stop hanging out with people who smoke because we inhale their smoke while sitting next to them without even enjoying it. Where is the fun in that?
7) Laugh More
We all enjoy the moments spent with our loved ones laughing on every stupid thing, don’t we? Well, there’s another perk of that. According to Jennifer M. Ryan, PT, MS, DPT, CCS, a certified specialist in cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy, laughing is a wonderful exercise for our abdominal muscles resulting in increased lung capacity.
Furthermore, laughing replaces the stale air inside our lungs with fresh air by forcing it out. So now you have one more reason to laugh your heart out.
8) Upgrade to an Organic Mattress
You can’t fight the city pollution alone, but you sure can make your home pollution free by a few simple upgrades. We have all heard of ways like get rid of dust, keep house plants, and so on. But the most important of them all (that we often neglect) is to replace a toxic mattress with an organic one.
Most commercial mattress brands contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that are known to cause health problems. Definitely, none of us wants our kids to breathe toxin foams, petroleum, and fire retardant chemicals as they peacefully sleep at night. So be sure to find the best non-toxic mattress you can, one that’s made with certified organic cotton, organic wool, and natural latex. Or, if you’re not ready to upgrade your mattress, you can still add an extra layer of protection with an organic topper.
9) Keep your lungs lubricated
Drinking water is a solution to everything whether it’s the blood pressure you need to maintain or glowing skin. Even in the case of breathing it is equally beneficial. Keeping your body hydrated throughout the day helps in keeping the mucosal linings in the lungs thin that ensure their better functioning.