Many people fail to consider the role our lungs play in keeping us feeling strong and healthy. Often it is not until we face respiratory issues or health complications that we begin to look into our lung health and improve lung capacity. However, whether you’re a star athlete or recently quit decades of smoking, your lungs require some basic tender love and care to keep them in tip-top shape.
Lung capacity is a familiar term for those living with chronic pulmonary conditions, but it is also important as a general health assessor for the population. Total lung capacity, or TLC, refers to the maximum amount of air that your lungs can hold. As we get older, our lung capacity decreases and we need to work a little harder to strengthen the flow of oxygen through our respiratory system. Here are 6 steps you can introduce into your daily routine to improve your lung capacity and take care of your respiratory health.
30 Mins of Exercise
If you want your lungs to perform at their best condition, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week – which works out to 30 mins a day 5 times a week, and 2 days of rest! Even if you aren’t a gym-goer or someone who loves getting active, you’d be surprised at how easily you complete this quota with many daily activities.
Examples of moderate-intensity activities include:
- brisk walking (at least 2.5 miles per hour)
- dancing (ballroom or social)
- water aerobics
- riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
- 20 mins of basketball outside with your kids
Do your kids go to school relatively close by? Why not take a bike to pick them up instead of driving? Making simple swaps like this can make a huge difference in improving your overall health. When you are physically active, your lungs work harder to supply the additional oxygen your muscles demand. Similar to how regular exercise makes your muscles stronger, it also makes targets your lungs to get them in their best shape!
When our mind is under stress, either from personal or health-based reasons, our body takes the brunt of the physical impact. For example, too much cortisol can increase blood sugar levels, suppress the immune system, and constrict blood vessels making it difficult to pump oxygen effectively through the body.
Meditation involves observing correct breathing patterns and training your body to effectively utilize these breathing patterns. Taking control of your breath can help improve lung capacity and open your airways. When we relax the mind and body by practicing meditation and other breathing exercises, we can reduce the discomfort of inflammation and aid the flow of oxygen to our cells.
Introducing just 10 minutes of meditation into your daily routine can help you to develop healthy habits like diaphragmatic breathing which conditions your respiratory system to work more efficiently. Here are some recommendations on how to introduce meditation into your daily routine.
Clean up your home environment!
One of the best ways to protect your lung capacity is to avoid pollutants in your living space. This includes secondhand smoke, dust, pollen, and mold, essentially any irritant that may affect your breathing and air quality. This is an essential step if you have either quit or are in the process of quitting smoking. For several weeks or months after you quit smoking, you may notice that your coughing persists or that it occurs more frequently as your lungs attempt to finally clear the mucus that has accumulated in your lungs, so you want to give your lungs the best chance at healing and cleaning themselves.
It’s a good idea to take extra care to remove anything that will make that cough worse. Give your house a once-over with a vacuum and duster a few times a week, giving extra attention to cleaning out all fans and vents.
There are a number of exercises you can integrate into your daily routine and lifestyle with minimal effort. Pursed Lip Breathing is just one of the simple exercises you can introduce to reduce the average number of breaths you take and keep your airways open longer for a better flow of oxygen. When more air is able to flow in and out of your lungs, the better your lung capacity gets while physically active.
To try pursed-lip breathing, simply breathe in deeply through your nose and breathe out through pursed lips. Repeat for just 5 minutes daily and your lungs will thank you for it.
Fix your posture!
Believe it or not, your posture has a big impact on the breathing system. Studies have shown that slumped sitting decreases lung capacity, because the position squeezes your lungs, making them smaller.
Poor posture can contribute to problems in breathing patterns, particularly for those that spend a large portion of their day at a desk. What is bad posture? You want to avoid sitting where your shoulders are rounded and your neck is forward as this causes the muscles around your chest to tighten and compress your lungs. Luckily there are quite a few quick fixes.
If you work from home, you could try swapping out your desk chair for a standing desk set-up to give your lungs the space they need. You could try wearing a posture corrector strap or sit against a wall with a flat back. The more aware you are of the need to correct your posture, the more conscious you become of the way you treat your back, shoulders, and neck.
A really easy habit to introduce into your daily routine is an OPEP device. This small, hand-held tool helps open up clogged airways and expel any unwanted mucus, to widen constricted airways and improve the flow of oxygen to the lungs.
The Turboforte Lung Physio is an all-natural OPEP device and does not require a prescription. Unlike decongestant medication, which uses medicine to constrict blood vessels to reduce inflammation and allow for easier breathing – Turboforte is much simpler, drug-free, and you can feel it working.
As you exhale through the device, a metal ball bearing in the cap is forced to move up and down by the positive pressure of your breath, sending vibrations through your lips and down into your airways. These vibrations paired with the positive pressure can loosen phlegm, clear airways, and exercise your lungs. The soft vibrations can also have a calming effect as you focus on destressing the body. Just 5-10 minutes, twice a day will have you breathing easier in no time.
Look after your lungs with these easy introductions into your daily routine. Read more of our lung health tips and tricks here.
While Turboforte is a drug-free, all-natural way to help and can be used in conjunction with your usual treatment regime, always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read that contradicts your doctor’s personal advice.