Life, almost a decade back was not as technologically advanced as now. It wasn't as fast paced as it is this very moment. Living might not have been this convenient then, but there are a host of concerns looming over human health today. Those health concerns including heart diseases, cancer and diabetes weren't in such rampant existence a few decades back. Viral and bacterial diseases are also on the rise. What is worrisome is the fact that some strains of diseases are developing tolerance to the existing lot of drugs, thereby posing a novel challenge to medical experts to come up with new and more potent set of drugs.
With rapid industrialization and globalization many moved towards the cities, and as these cities started filling up, environmental issues began to crop up. With an increase in population, pollution levels also shot up leading to the current day scenario where most Indian cities are blanketed under a thick mantle of pollution. Lung and respiratory issues are therefore more common today. Chronic respiratory ailments like asthma can easily be spotted in many young kids. Believe it or not, we are living in an age where going out to get a whiff of fresh air can be debilitating for our own health. Especially in cities like Delhi, it is now deemed best to stay indoor in air-purifier equipped workplaces or homes rather than going out in the open to inhale the contaminated air.
Today, our lungs are under jeopardy. If you smoke, you are bound to get a double-whammy. This piece aims at giving you a quick fact sheet on how can you ensure healthy lungs. According to a recent report published in the journal PlosONE, our lungs are ageing faster than our bodies and the best way to outdo this effect is to keep a watch on diet, exercise daily, avoid smoking, stay in cleaner environment as well as work towards increasing the stamina and capacity of your lungs. You can access the age as well as capacity of your lungs by getting a pulmonary function test done. PFTs generally include two sets of tests aiming to measure the density/volume of lungs as well as its strength and capacity.
While you can't possibly increase the size of your lungs, you can improve the amount of oxygen your lungs pump as well as the efficacy with which it transmits oxygen to the rest of your body. Some of the really simple and inexpensive tricks can give you a set of better and stronger lungs.
1. Yoga: Deep breathing is at the center of all yogic postures. Hence not only is it great for your overall health, but great for the lungs as well. Other breathing exercises will also aid. One of the easiest ways to access your lung capacity is to give balloon blowing a try. Try blowing as many as possible to the fullest, you would know.
2. Swimming: It is a great way to exercise your lungs. It focuses heavily on breathing as you practice deep breathing in small intervals which is great for your respiratory system. Swimming enhances lung capacity which also helps in other physical activities like running (which is also great for your lungs and respiratory system). Exercising in water in general is good for your lungs as it works against the resistance and pressure applied by water. Try the latest health trend - underwater yoga.
3. Cardio: We're basically talking about anything that will get your lungs work harder and better.
4. High Altitudes: Trekking in general and in higher altitudes is great as at higher altitudes your lungs work harder to get oxygen.
5. Everything Else: Apart from these abdominal breathing, deep breathing exercises as well as trying to learn to play a wind instrument (flute, trumpet, saxophone, etc.) can also aid in strengthening your lungs. To begin with, you can try holding your breath and better your count. Besides all these, as mentioned earlier, avoid smoking, try staying in a clean environment and eat a balanced diet. Leading a sedentary life is one of the biggest enemies of healthy lungs, it deteriorates your lung capacity significantly. Make sure you adopt a correct body posture so as to avoid putting any pressure on your ribs and lungs. Keep yourself well-hydrated. In case you live in a polluted city make sure you purify your personal space or get an air-purifier installed.