It is common knowledge that human happiness and well-being are dependent on good health. According to The American Lung Association (ALA) though, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death in men and women as well. Unfortunately, it seems we often overlook the importance of our lungs. We tend to forget that they are nature’s natural defensive system designed to keep dirt and germs out. However, there are several crucial things you can do to lower your lung disease risk. Here are some valuable guidelines for keeping your Respiratory System or lungs in good shape.
1. Avoid Exposure to Pollution
Pollutants in the air can harm your lungs and worsen the aging process. Our lungs can easily tolerate these pollutants while they’re young and healthy. However, this protective capacity starts to fade as we get older, making us more susceptible to diseases. That’s why you should always try to avoid exposure to outside pollution. If you live in a large polluted city, you need to stay inside at peak air pollution times of the day and avoid exercising in areas with a lot of traffic. This of course includes cycling, a fact that cyclists ignore, usually believing that their favorite means of transport is good for their health. Inside pollution can be equally as harmful, nonetheless. Chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene can be found in artificial air fresheners and candles, which you might often unknowingly utilize in the house, worsening indoor breathing conditions. Additionally, basic home cleaning guidelines should be maintained, such as dusting and vacuuming with HEPA filters, as well as leaving the windows open at long intervals to vent all the house pollutants outside.
2. No Smoking!
Probably equally as unhealthy as air pollution is smoking, of course. Cigarettes fill your lungs with thousands of chemicals, causing mucus to build up, gradually weakening their capacity and expediting their aging process. Statistically, smoking is responsible for over 90% of deaths due to lung cancer in both women and men. Not to mention the consequences of smoking inside the house, which add to the already polluted air from chemicals and allergens and deteriorate the health of your children as well. There is no better way to state emphatically that you should quit smoking. If you do it, you will see the beneficial results to your body in only 12 hours and, even more, your lung functions can get into a recovery stage after a few months! Surely quitting smoking is not an easy process. It requires strength, patience, and sticking to your everyday program, but you will realize it is worth it in the end. Besides, there are a lot of dedicated programs and medical aids that can help you with your struggle, so you’re not alone fighting your cause.
3. Keep Away from Infections
What can be especially hazardous to your lungs as you get older are infections. They are especially dangerous for people who already have respiratory illnesses like COPD, but equally harmful even for healthy elders, if they’re not careful, risking a case of pneumonia. The best ways to avoid these adverse effects are to wash your hands regularly, especially before eating, stay away from small places with poor ventilation packed with people – especially during the cold and flu season, mind your vaccinations and eat healthy food that will keep your immune system in a good state.
If there’s one certain thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us is that these types of infections and diseases are very easy to catch as well as lethal. Therefore, it goes without saying that we should protect our respiratory system by any means possible. This also includes utilizing special medical equipment or even simple common devices like inhalers and nebulizers, which keep asthma patients in the best condition possible.
4. Take Deep Breaths
Surely, you’ve heard of this advice before, especially from trainers or gymnasts either at school or at the gym, and you might think that they’re saying it just for effect. The truth is totally different though, especially if you consider that the same phrase is uttered by doctors everywhere while they’re examining their patients. That’s because deep breathing clears the lungs and ensures that a complete exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is achieved. According to various medical studies, regular deep breathing exercises have proved to be beneficial for the function of our lungs. People who do these breathing exercises on a regular basis say that they feel more relaxed and focused. Besides, it’s no wonder that similar breathing techniques have been used by Yoga instructors all over the world for centuries. Maybe now is the time to try these exercises yourself. It’s never too late to help your lungs breathe better and ultimately, benefit your whole-body function.
5. Exercise Regularly
Engaging in regular exercise is another major factor that ensures the optimal condition of your lungs. That’s because your heart starts beating quicker and your lungs exert more effort to function while you exercise. To sustain your body and muscles both require more oxygen, so your lungs start working harder to deliver the needed oxygen while giving out more carbon dioxide in the meantime. According to physicians, your breathing rate rises from 15 to 40 to 60 times per minute during exercise. That’s why doing aerobic exercises that promote hard breathing on a regular basis is critical. It is a proven fact that your lungs grow more efficiently the more you exercise. Exercise helps you develop strong, healthy lungs, which in turn, helps you avoid diseases and prevent aging in the long run. Even if you happen to develop lung illness later in life, daily physical activity can help delay its course and keep you agile for longer.
These are the most essential and valuable guidelines that you should follow if you want your respiratory system to be healthy. Along with proper exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and keeping your mind in a healthy vigorous state, they should form the foundation for long and prosperous life. Let’s always keep in mind the teachings of ancient Greek philosophers, like Hippocrates, who maintained the axiom “a healthy mind in a healthy body”, and we’ll always be on the right track.