Your lungs are vital to everything you do. That means taking care of them is essential to your health and wellbeing. We all know that health experts recommend things like avoiding smoking to help maintain lung health. However, there are other, lesser-known things you can do to help boost your respiratory system and increase the health of your lungs.
Relax and Breathe Deeply and Diaphragmatically
There are several different types of breathing exercises you can do to help naturally increase your respiratory health. Diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, is one such way. Start by breathing in through your nose. Pay attention to the feel of the air as it fills the lower portion of your lungs and your belly. (If you want to add a visual cue, place your hands gently on top of your stomach and watch as they rise and fall with each breath.) Breathe out through your mouth, exhaling two to three times as long as it took to inhale.
Diaphragmatic breathing helps to expel trapped air, allowing your lungs to hold more fresh air. It also helps to improve the strength of your diaphragm, bring up deep-seated mucus and boost the capacity of your lungs through increasing the organs’ ability to stretch.
Another exercise that comes highly recommended is pursed-lip breathing. As with the previous exercise, you breathe in slowly through your nose. Then, breathe out slowly through purse-lips for twice as long as it took you to breathe in. (For example, breathe in for 2 seconds then exhale for 4 seconds.)
Experts recommend you perform these short exercises for 5 to 10 minutes, 3 or 4 times every day.
Perfect Your Posture
Your lungs are soft organs. They expand and deflate continuously with each breath you take. Because of this, however, your posture can affect the space your lungs have to expand in. That is one of the many reasons you should always practice perfect posture.
It is also another reason to take a few moments throughout your day to sit up, reach your hands above your head, and take a deep slow breath in and release.
Switch to An Organic Mattress
Many mattresses, particularly memory foam and latex models, are constructed from synthetic, man-made materials that contain chemicals and toxins. The best organic mattresses, however, are not. Investing in a quality organic mattress can ensure you do not spend your nights breathing in toxic chemicals that could damage your lungs.
If you have breathing problems like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), these fumes can exaggerate your symptoms. Even if your old mattress no longer has that chemical smell it had when it was first removed from the packaging, those toxins are still there. You have just adjusted to the smell and presence of these fumes. Eliminate these toxins from your home completely and consider investing in an organic mattress. And if you’re not ready to upgrade your mattress, you can always get an organic topper instead.
Change Your Sleeping Position
The position you sleep in can also affect your respiratory system. If you have been experiencing issues with your lungs, try sleeping in a new position. For example, if you tend to sleep on your side, try sleeping on your back or stomach.
Issues may also be due to the age of your mattress. If your mattress has exceeded its useful life, it may no longer be supporting you in the way it once did. While experts recommend that you invest in a new mattress at this point, we understand that personal budgets may not support this immediate investment. If you always sleep on your side, it may be permanently sagging in the hip and shoulder regions because it has permanently adjusted to these indentations. Changing your sleep position, therefore, can help put the pressure points onto less affected portions of your mattress.
Engage in More Aerobic Exercise
Exercise is essential to any healthy lifestyle. But did you know regular exercise also helps boost your respiratory system? As you exercise, your heart beats harder. This causes your lungs to work harder to provide the oxygen needed to fuel your body. Experts recommend getting regular aerobic exercise if you want to help boost your lungs’ strength, capacity and functionality. (As a bonus, it also helps you to resist the effects of aging and some diseases!)
Drink Plenty of Water
As with everything else in your water, it is important to keep your lungs hydrated. Your lungs contain a mucosal lining, which must remain hydrated to function properly. Keeping them hydrated ensures they stay thin and flexible. However, when they get dry, they thicken and lose the ability to expand easily. This can restrict your lungs’ capacity. So make sure you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to ensure your mucosal lining does not hinder your respiratory system.
If you have ever had an intense abdominal day at the gym, you understand how many muscles it takes to simply laugh. In fact, your abdominals and your lungs get a serious workout every time you laugh. As with exercise itself, laughing helps to draw out stale air from your lungs and clear out deep mucus that can impact your lung capacity. So laugh, and laugh often, to help increase your respiratory health.
Avoid Prolonged Exposure to Pollutants
We know that smoking is bad for your lungs. But breathing in secondhand smoke and other pollutants is equally as bad for you. Dusting, avoiding synthetic air fresheners, eliminating mold from your home, using natural cleaning products, and adequate ventilation are all ways to help minimize prolonged exposure to pollutants that can impact your lungs.