Ways to Improve your Respiratory Health

Posted on November 13, 2020

By: Megan DeLuca, MEd, CPT Fitness Blogger

  • Stop smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke. The dangers of smoking, secondhand smoke, vaping, etc., are not a secret and should be taken very seriously. You only get one pair and taking care of them should be a priority.
  • Avoid indoor and outdoor air pollution. Be sure to seek out filtered air in areas where pollution is prevalent. Dust, vacuum, and wash bedding often to maintain a healthier indoor environment. Also, during the colder months, be sure your home has the proper humidity levels to avoid too much dryness. This can irritate airways in sensitive lungs and people with lung issues.
  • Avoid exposure to people who have the flu or other viral infections. Or wear personal protective equipment, such as a face mask, to avoid spreading the infection. 
  • Exercise regularly. Your lung function benefits greatly from regular cardiovascular exercise. Aim to do some sort of activity every day for 30 minutes that moderately challenges your breathing within the scope of your fitness level. 
  • Laugh more. Laughing is a great exercise to work the abdominal muscles and increase lung capacity. It also clears out your lungs by forcing enough stale air out, which allows fresh air to enter into more areas of the lung.
  • Stay well hydrated. Taking in enough fluids throughout the day helps keep the mucosal linings in the lungs thin, which helps them function better. Aim for eight 8 oz. glasses per day.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Not only for lung health but for our bodies as a whole, eating healthy foods and controlling portions can have many benefits.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re not sure what a healthy weight is for someone your height and age, speak with your doctor or research what is an acceptable range. Added weight means added pressure on your lungs to work harder than they need to.
  • Practice good posture. Elongating your spine and rolling your shoulders back into the proper position can give the soft structures of your lungs the room they need to expand and fill with more air.
  • Practice deep breathing from your diaphragm. In through your nose, expand out through your belly, and exhale through your mouth. Exercising your lungs in this way is like therapy for them to increase their ability to expand and relax.
  • See your doctor for an annual physical. If you have any concerns about the shortness of breath, ask your doctor about having a lung function test, or pulmonary function test, to rule out any breathing conditions, such as asthma.