We are all aware that exercise provides us with numerous health benefits. Whether referring to gaining muscles, reducing your waistline, improving your mood or strengthening your heart, the advantages cannot be denied. However, did you know that exercise is also one of the best ways to ensure efficient lungs?
Many studies have found that regular exercise can help to improve the quality of life for those who may or may not have an existing lung condition. The good news is that this exercise can come in many forms including weight training, taking a walk around the block or even gardening.
Whether you are young or old, slim or hefty and regardless of your physical condition, physical exercise is associated with countless beneficial outcomes. Some of these include:
- Boosting your immune system.
- Reducing long-term health issues including cardiovascular disease.
- Limiting the chances of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes.
- Helping to prevent some forms of cancer (such as lung cancer).
Exercise helps to strengthen your bones, to improve flexibility, to ablate feelings of anxiety, to reduce weight gain, and to improve sleep. Interestingly enough, a growing body of research also suggests that it may help to prevent mental conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. So, what about the lungs?
Did you know that your lung capacity can be improved by between 5 and 15 percent by regularly exercising?
The benefits are even more profound if you perform regular breathing exercises in the morning (a routine which I embrace). Similar to how physical activity can strengthen the cardiovascular system, breathing exercises help the lungs to function more efficiently. Some are designed to calm the central nervous system or to provide sensations of relaxation while others are primarily intended to physically augment the capacity of your lungs. So, how can you perform these techniques?
Surprising Methods to Employ
The good news is that you have a handful of options at your disposal. The most common is to breathe in deeply between 5 and 10 times before coughing strongly. Repeat this cycle if you wish. Here are some other interesting alternatives:
- Practice box breathing (inhale and hold your breath for a set number of seconds. Then, exhale and hold your breath for the same amount of time).
- Perform “Sama Vritti” (controlled breathing). Inhale and exhale for equal amounts of time. This is an excellent way to relax.
- Singing (I do it in the shower, but I don’t think that counts. And it’s definitely not singing)
The last point is important to stress, as singing will provide several benefits. It can address issues such as shortness of breath. It will teach you to breathe slower and deeper. Singing enables you to control your respiration; important when combatting stress and anxiety. Finally, this habit will help to improve your posture (increasing pulmonary efficiency).
Here are some other suggestions:
- Abstain from smoking.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Remain physically active.
Begin every day with deep breathing exercises and targeted stretches.
Keep these vital organs going strong for life.
Above all, remain positive and embrace your existence. I’m with you every step of the way.