We rely on our lungs for one of the most vital functions in our body – breathing. Outside of neurological issues or complete heart failure issues that could kill us immediately, losing the ability to breathe is right up there with essential functions that keep us living.
Our lungs constantly work to provide oxygen to our body and eliminate carbon dioxide, which is essential for survival. However, with the increasing pollution levels and unhealthy lifestyle habits, our lungs are under constant stress and strain, leading to several respiratory problems.
The good news is that, for the most part, these issues can be resolved. By making several lifestyle changes to a daily routine to improve your lung health, you can feel confident living healthier and longer. While this list of tips and ideas is extensive, here are ten to get you started.
1. Quit Smoking
Smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer and other respiratory problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and a long list of different cancers. Quitting smoking is one of the most effective ways to improve lung health. However, it may also be one of the toughest to quit.
As soon as you quit smoking, your lung function improves, and your risk of developing lung cancer decreases. As an extra benefit, smokers who can kick the habit save about $2000 per year, not including medical expenses. If you struggle to quit smoking, you can seek help from a healthcare professional or join a support group.
2. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise improves overall health and strengthens the muscles that support the lungs. Exercise can improve lung capacity, making it easier to breathe. Cardiovascular activities such as jogging, cycling, and swimming are particularly beneficial for lung health.
3. Practice Good Hygiene
Good hygiene is another way to prevent respiratory infections such as the flu and the common cold. Always wash your hands regularly, especially before touching your face or eating. By avoiding respiratory illnesses, your lungs won’t have to work extra hard, which in the long run, will help you later in life.
4. Maintain a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can improve overall health and reduce the risk of respiratory problems. Foods such as apples, broccoli, and ginger have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit lung health.
Processed foods or too much dairy can be bad for the lungs as it can lead to sickness and thicker mucus which can affect the lungs.
5. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water can help keep the lungs hydrated, making breathing easier. It also helps to thin mucus in the lungs, reducing the risk of respiratory infections. People should drink about half their body weight in ounces of water daily. So, if you weigh 180 pounds, drink 90 ounces of water.
6. Avoid Exposure to Pollutants
Exposure to pollutants such as smoke, chemicals, and dust can damage the lungs and increase the risk of respiratory problems. If you work in an environment with pollutants, wear protective gear such as a mask or respirator. Some people have even decided to move away from big cities to escape the smog and pollution. While that may be an extreme decision, it is an option some people choose to pursue.
7. Improve Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air pollution can be just as harmful as outdoor air pollution. To improve indoor air quality, keep your home well-ventilated by opening windows and using exhaust fans. Use air filters and avoid using products that release harmful chemicals, such as cleaning products, air fresheners, and pesticides. Also, make sure to change these products when you’re supposed to. Not having a scheduled air filter change can lead to months of bad air quality.
8. Get Regular Check-Ups
Regular check-ups with a healthcare professional can help detect and prevent respiratory problems from worsening. If you experience symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath, consult your healthcare professional immediately.
Often, serious issues such as lung related cancers and other diseases can be treated and healed if identified early enough. Unfortunately, with these kinds of cancers and diseases, if you wait until the pain is unbearable, it may be too late.
Our lungs play a vital role in our overall health, and it is essential to take care of them. By incorporating these lifestyle changes into your daily routine, you can improve lung health and reduce the risk of respiratory problems.