As with the rest of your body, the lungs also deteriorate as you age, decreasing the volume of air they can take in. Try these seven methods to restore your lung capacity to its optimal function.
1. Do Breathing Exercises
Think of breathing exercises as a workout for your lungs. Like how you build muscles when exercising regularly, breathing exercises can raise oxygen levels in the lungs and remove stale air trapped in them.
You can use this belly breathing technique when lying or sitting down to help calm your body when you feel tightness around your chest. Here are the steps:
- Lie or sit comfortably with your hands on your belly.
- With your mouth closed, slowly inhale through the nose to fill your abdomen with air.
- Feel your hands rising together with your inflated belly.
- Gently blow the air out with pursed lips as if you’re blowing bubbles.
- Feel the falling of your hands from your deflated stomach.
- Do this for four to 10 minutes until your breathing is normal.
Pursed Lip Breathing
You can do this exercise while sitting down any time you have difficulty breathing. Follow these steps:
- Sit down and relax your entire body.
- Inhale for two seconds while your mouth is closed.
- Purse your lips as if you’re going to whistle and breathe out for four seconds. Exhale twice as long as your inhale.
- Do this until you return to normal breathing.
These two breathing exercises can help people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) manage their symptoms.
2. Interval Training
Interval training is another method to make the lungs work efficiently. It involves alternating between a brief period of intense exercise and a longer period of gentle activity.
For example, you can do brisk walking for one minute and follow it with a slow walk for two minutes. You do this in cycles. The idea is to work the lungs by doing fast-paced exercise and letting them recover by switching to slower movement.
3. Quit Smoking
Smoking can damage your lungs permanently. It causes lung cancer and COPD, and increases the risk of early mortality. Chain smoking is also a risk factor for other cancer conditions, such as bladder, colon and liver. If you’re having difficulty eliminating smoking in your lifestyle, enlist the help of a doctor and a therapist so they can personalize a treatment plan for you.
4. Practice Singing
The phrase “Sing your lungs out” may sound funny, but singing does strengthen your lungs. It’s a popular therapy intervention for people with COPD and respiratory diseases.
A randomized controlled trial showed those with COPD in the singing group experienced reduced labored breathing and improved oxygen saturation during singing. Since singing and breathing are interconnected, every time you carry a tune, you actively engage your lungs, diaphragm, rib cage and other parts involved in respiration.
5. Engage In Physical Activities
Sports and workouts have significant benefits on your body. When you do any heart-pumping activity, your lungs and heart work harder to supply oxygen to the muscles. If you continue to put your lungs into a state where you speed up the breathing and heart rate, you’ll develop tolerance and eventually increase your lung capacity.
6. Pulmonary Rehabilitation
If you have an existing respiratory condition, seek medical treatment. Asthma can worsen and develop into chronic bronchitis and other respiratory problems, which are more challenging to treat. Even if there’s no cure for asthma, your doctor can recommend treatment options to manage the symptoms. You can then do physical activities with your doctor’s supervision.
7. Improve Your Diet
What you eat impacts your general wellbeing. Shifting to a balanced diet is good for your body, including your lungs. Some foods that can support healthy lung function include:
- Beets and beet greens
Boost Lung Health For An Improved Quality Of Life
The lungs deserve their own spotlight when it comes to tender loving care. Respiration problems can reduce the quality of your life. Ensure your lungs are in good working condition by using breathing exercises, eliminating smoking, singing, engaging in physical activity and improving your diet. If you have an underlying condition, consult your doctor before doing any of these recommended methods to increase lung capacity.