We’ve seen plenty in the news regarding respiratory illnesses lately, and you might be wondering how to reduce your risk of those diseases. Remember that your own immune system and other pre-existing conditions combine to form the full picture of your own health, but generally speaking, pulmonologists do offer a few recommendations for promoting lung health.
Exercise is still the most important thing you can do to keep your lungs healthy. Ideally, we all engage in a little bit of daily exercise throughout our lives. But it’s never too late to get started. Anything that increases your heart rate, such as a brisk walk, a bike ride, or a swim, will give your lungs a beneficial workout too.
Exercise benefits your lungs in the following ways:
- Supporting the muscles of your diaphragm
- Slowing the decline of elasticity in the lungs
- Getting air into the deepest part of your lungs, which aren’t used at much when you’re sedentary
- Clearing out pollutants that you might have inhaled
- Helping your body to utilize oxygen efficiently
Some people are afraid of feeling “short of breath”, and due to this fear, tend to avoid exercise. If you do suffer from asthma or another condition that affects your breathing, do consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine. But for those without pre-existing heart or lung conditions, slightly heavier breathing during exercise simply means you’re getting a good workout.
Aim for 20 minutes of exercise that is just intense enough that you need to breathe a little faster and more deeply. You shouldn’t feel exhausted, or experience concerning symptoms like dizziness or blurred vision (those are signs that you’re pushing yourself too hard). As you get into better shape you can gradually increase your exercise time to 25 minutes, then 30 minutes, and so on.
These are just general rules, and you should consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine. In most cases, exercise will benefit not only your lungs, but also your heart. You can ward off certain serious illnesses and enjoy more energy and a better mood as well.