Healthy Lung Month: Adopt Three New Habits to Breathe Easier

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Alan WuBy Alan Wu for Bay Alarm Medical

October is Healthy Lung Month, a good time to take steps to better care for one of the most important organs in your body. According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the United States and worldwide, causing more deaths than colorectal, breast and prostate cancers combined. Quitting smoking and avoiding second-hand cigarette smoke is the best way to lessen your risk of serious lung conditions. In addition to decreasing your exposure to cigarette smoke, there are several ways for you to improve your lung health to ward off illnesses.

Eat Well to Stay Well

Eating nutritious foods can go a long way in decreasing the risk of lung disease and cancer. Be mindful to incorporate antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, nuts and dark green vegetables into your diet. Antioxidants prevent cell damage, which is a precursor to cancers and other diseases. Drinking adequate amounts of water is also essential to lung health – and particularly important for seniors because their sense of thirst weakens with age. Water keeps the lining of the lungs thin, helping them function more effectively.

Get Active

Being active and partaking in aerobic exercises is especially beneficial to lung health. You can increase your lung capacity and improve endurance just by walking everyday for 30 minutes. Try parking further from a destination or taking the stairs instead of the elevator to get some aerobic exercise into your everyday life. If you are worried about the possibility of injury while doing physical activity, consider getting a GPS-enabled medical alert device, like those offered by Bay Alarm Medical, to ensure you can receive medical assistance if you are unable to call for help.

Take a Deep Breath and Repeat

A more gentle approach to strengthening your lungs is to do breathing exercises, which are great if you have limited mobility. It is optimal to practice breathing exercises five to 10 minutes, three to four times a day. One type of breathing exercise is called diaphragmatic breathing and requires you to lie on your back with knees bent and inhale deeply through your nose for three seconds. Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest, taking note that your belly and lower ribs should rise while your chest is still. Tighten your abdominal muscles and exhale slowly through the mouth. Getting into the habit of breathing mindfully will improve lung capacity in addition to being a calming activity.

Your body can become more susceptible to aches and pains with age but it’s important to be extra mindful of your lungs because you need them every second of every day. Eating fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of water and getting your daily dose of exercise are simple habits that you should incorporate into your lifestyle to restore and maintain healthy lungs. Keeping your lungs in great shape will lead to a healthier and happier life.

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