Activate Your Lung Power…

To breathe is to live, but how can we breathe better to live better in our pursuit of Active Wellness? There are many different ways to physically enhance our lung capacity.

Good breathing techniques may not only help our bodies get the oxygen needed but also keep our lungs healthy and strong. One particular exercise that helps the lungs intake oxygen is called diaphragmatic breathing.1 In layman’s terms, this type of exercise is called “belly breathing.” Follow these steps:

  1. Relax your shoulders and sit back or lie down.
  2. Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.
  3. Inhale through your nose for two seconds, feeling the air move into your abdomen and feeling your stomach move out. Your stomach should move more than your chest does.
  4. Breathe out for two seconds through pursed lips while pressing on your abdomen.
  5. Repeat.

Another exercise helps keep our airways open longer, which helps reduce the “work” of breathing. It’s called pursed-lips breathing and helps improve the lung’s function of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.2 Pursed-lips breathing is simpler than diaphragmatic breathing and can be practiced at any time. Follow these steps:

  1. Inhale slowly through your nose.
  2. Purse your lips, as if pouting or about to blow on something.
  3. Breathe out as slowly as possible through pursed lips. This should take at least twice as long as it did to breathe in.
  4. Repeat.

To help increase lung capacity, the British Lung Foundation advises deep breathing in general. It’s believed that deep breathing can help clear mucous from the lungs, which allows more air to circulate.3 Simply inhale deeply through the nose, 5-10 times, then cough a couple of times and repeat.

In addition to breathing exercises, do the following for healthy lung maintenance:

  1. Stop smoking, and avoid secondhand smoke or environmental irritants.
  2. Eat foods rich in antioxidants. 
  3. Exercise more frequently, which can help your lungs function properly. Swimming is especially helpful for increasing lung power.

1, 2. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-increase-lung-capacity

3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323787#when-do-they-work

23rd September 2021

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