Understanding Your Lung Health

October is Healthy Lung Month, and for most of us keeping our lungs healthy is all about getting exercise. Whether it’s swimming laps in the pool, running a couple miles along a park trail or getting in a few good reps in at the gym, there’s a ton of great ways to keep your lungs working at their peak! First of all, to explain the best ways to keep your lungs healthy it’s good to know how lungs become unhealthy to begin with. There are the obvious ways to negatively impact lung strength and capacity, like smoking cigarettes or breathing air containing dangerous gases like radon or minerals like asbestos. Most commonly, smokers are the ones who are most at risk of developing diseases like COPD, emphysema and lung cancer, but that doesn’t mean non-smokers don’t have their own concerns. But not everything has to be so gloomy! There are a number of ways to reverse the effects of some types of lung damage, and plenty of ways to continue building strength and increase function.

Green and Clean: Indoor Air Quality

Studies have shown indoor air to be between two and five times more pollute than the air we breathe outside. Luckily, there are hundreds of easy ways to promote strong and healthy lungs both inside and outside your home. For example, did you know spider plants and Chinese Evergreens are great at removing certain types of household toxins, like acetone and benzyne, from indoor air? Not only will your air be cleaner and your home a little greener, you’ll be able to breathe easier knowing your home office and rec room have a little bit more feng shui!

Spring and summer are the perfect seasons for doing a wide array of home improvement projects. Painting, knocking down walls and adding on rooms are only some of the projects we take on, but how often do we think about the air we’re breathing in while we’re doing them? Make sure to wear a protective mask when doing any type of renovations to prevent breathing in household chemicals from cleaning supplies, adhesives and paints.

Proper monitoring and protection also keeps you from inhaling radon gas, which seeps into basements from underground, and asbestos, a mineral once commonly found in products ranging from cement and duct adhesives to caulk. Asbestos, in particular, is dangerous because decades later that exposure can result in a rare cancer called mesothelioma.

The easiest way to keep your lungs in perfect shape is to get out and exercise! It doesn’t take much to strengthen them, either. Exercising only two to three times a week will improve your lung health and function, plus any type of exercise counts! Now you don’t have to feel guilty taking an extra lap around the block with the baby stroller or playing a few more minutes of frisbee at the neighborhood park. Aerobic exercises are a great way to improve lung function, especially when combined with a series of deep breathing exercises to strengthen the diaphragm. The diaphragm, a muscle that helps the lungs pull in air, does about 80 percent of the work every time you breathe. By performing deep breathing exercises on a regular basis, runners and other athletes are more likely to take better breaths while running and may feel less fatigued during a workout. In the end, that means you can work harder and for longer! It doesn’t take much to keep your lungs healthy, especially when combined with a good diet, routine exercise and avoiding cigarettes and other pollutants. By following these suggestions, you can breathe a little easier knowing you are doing the right things to keep your lungs safe.

Huge thanks to my friends over at www.mesothelioma.com as this is a close topic to my heart, my uncle and Grandfather passed away from lung cancer, so I'm happy for all the research and tips we have today so I can share it with you!

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