The lungs are an important part of the human body. These are the pair of air-filled and spongy organs located above your chest on both sides. The windpipe (trachea) is responsible for holding inhaled air into the lungs from its tubular branches identified as bronchi.
The bronchi are divided into small and smaller sections (bronchioles), and microscopic.
The bronchioles eventually end in the bunches of alveoli that are tiny air sacs. The alveoli absorb the oxygen in your blood. The carbon dioxide, which is a waste outcome from metabolism, comes from blood to the alveoli, where it goes out when you exhale. There is a thin cell layer between alveoli named interstitium. This layer has cells and blood vessels to sustain alveoli.
The lungs coated with a thin layer of tissues called pleura. There is another same tissue layer inside your chest cavity. This thin fluid layer helps to lubricate the lungs to slip smoothly while expanding and contracting with every breath.
The lung capacity refers to the ability of lungs to hold air. Gradually, the lung capacity and functions typically reduce slowly as an individual get aged after the mid-20s.
Some lung conditions such as COPD-chronic obstructive disease can remarkably speed up the decrease of lung capacity and functions. It results in breathing difficulty and breath shortness.
The best thing is there are some breathing exercises to maintain and promote lung capacity. It helps to keep your lungs healthy and promote oxygen supply in the body.
Diaphragmatic breathing exercises also referred to belly breathing. It contracts your diaphragm when heavy lifting.
This method is especially recommended for people suffering from COPD, as these people will not have a healthy diaphragm. This breathing activity helps to stimulate the lungs. This breathing method requires to use in resting position.
If you are suffering from COPD, then ask your respiratory therapist or doctor to guide you for this exercise to get effective results.
The COPD-Foundation recommend following the below steps to perform diaphragmatic breathing.
- Lay down or sit back with relaxed shoulders.
- Put your one hand over your belly and on hand on your chest.
- Breath in from your nose for 2-seconds and feel the air moving in your abdomen and sense the stomach move outward. Your stomach should drive more than your chest.
- Exhale for 2-seconds from pursed lips while turning over your abdomen.
- Do again more.
Pursed lips breathing helps to reduce your breathing. It helps to slow down the breathing work by letting your airways open for more time. It makes your lungs to function properly and support the transfer of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body.
This exercise is often more comfortable for beginners than diaphragmatic breathing. You can easily perform it in your home without guidance. It can be done at any time.
How to do?
- Exhale gently from your nostrils.
- Purse your lips in a way like a pout or you will blow on something.
- Exhale as slowly as you can from pursed lips. It should be done twice as long as your breath in.
Humming Breath Exercise
Humming breath is an act of making a sound of light humming while doing yogic breathing or pranayama. This exercise is more considered for getting benefits for sinus and thyroid problem due to the impact of sound vibrations. Many yogis take this breathing technique to reduce stress, tension, anger, anxiety, and insomnia.
It is believed benefits of humming breath stem by the idea that you will get the benefit of soothing buzzing sound for both mind and body. Yogis perform this exercise in the mudra practice or with a finger in every ear and remaining finger on your eyes to lower other hearing or visual stimulation. It provides complete relaxing effects from the sound.
The humming breath also is known as Bhramari pranayama in Sanskrit.
How to do?
- Comfortably sit in lotus pose.
- Make a humming sound with 4-6 counts of breathing pattern. This sound will look similar like bee or buzz while exhaling of your breath.
- Once you have sound on breathing out properly, you can also try making a sound while inhaling.
Chinese Breath Exercise
The chines breathing exercise also called Qigong or Chi Gung. It simplified Chinese traditions. The chi kung means life-energy improvement. It helps to improve your movement, body-posture, meditation, and breathing. It is used for martial art training and spirituality. As it is from Chine, it helps to practice balance.
The Qigong practice includes moving meditation, deep rhythmic breathing, managing slow flowing movement, and calm meditation of your mind.
Different people do Qigong throughout china and the whole world for relaxation, recreation exercise, preventive medicine, self-healing, preventive medicine, self-cultivation, alternative medicine, and martial art training.
According to research, Qigong also has a link with hypertension, cancer, pain, and quality life.
The Qigong exercise helps to target deep abdominal and conscious breathing. The abdominal breathing boosts oxygen and improves Qi.
How to do?
- Sit down straight on a chair with aligning spine and neck. It boasts a healthy flow of Qi from your spinal column.
- Put your hands over your abdomen and close your eyes and feel the breathing moment.
- Now take a deep and conscious breath, it will fill the air in your abdomen.
- Pause at the top of inhalation to get your Qi, slowly exhale and remove the air from lungs and abdomen.
- Repeat this breathing for several minutes.
Pushing out is another exercise for healthy lungs.
How to do?
- Stand straight by keeping knees relaxed.
- Gently, bend downward at the waist and push out the air from your lungs.
- Slowly stand backside straight and breath-in until your lungs get filled with maximum capacity.
- Hold the breath for 20-seconds for as long as possible.
- When you hold breath, slowly raise your arms over your head.
- After finishing counts, gently bring your arms downward and breath-out from your mouth, then return to a relaxed position.
- Repeat 4-times.
Rib stretch is a lung exercise. The tightness in your attached muscles around the rib cage gets affected by your breathing ability effectively. Breathing exercise helps to stretch your rib cage muscles. You can perform back bending, and front fold stretches.
Your rib cage contains two main sets of muscle layers, such as internal and external intercostals. The intercostals work to reduce depressed rib cage and help in forced breath-out.
Deep breathing practice helps to open your chest and stretch your back. It improves the rib cage flexibility.
How to do?
- Stand straight and breathe out till your lungs get empty.
- Slowly breath-in and fill your lungs as much as you can.
- Now hold your breath inside for 20-seconds as long as you can able to do.
- While counting, put your hands over your hips using your thumbs which should point front and your pinky fingers should touchback.
- After holding the breath for 20 seconds, breath-out slowly and get back to a relaxing position.
- Repeat 3-times.
The Anulom Vilom Pranayama is also called alternate nostril breathing exercise and Nadi Shodhana pranayama.
It is not only a breathing exercise but a significant yogic technique that helps to control bio-energies or vital force (Pranic energies), which flow in specific channels of the body. The channels are also called Pingala, or Ida Nadis which cannot be indicated anatomically. It controls the prana from the regular use of Anulom Vilom pranayama, which helps control energies flowing in the Ida and Pingala Nadis.
In return, it stimulates the names of your central channels as Sushumna Nadi. This workout helps in the reduction of toxins a free radical from the Ida and Pingala Nadi. It also restores control between both hemispheres of the brain.
It purifies your whole nervous system. This workout brings tranquility and mental calm and peace by healing.
It is an ancient method to strengthen and relax your mind. It helps to prepare the entire body for meditation. Doing this yoga exercise is an easy and simple way to get more results. You can do it anywhere and anytime from your comfort.
This breathing exercise is helpful for the body. You can use it as a warm-up exercise before doing deep breathing exercises. They are mainly performed to improve the lung functions and clear your airways to get more oxygen.
This alternate nostril breathing also helpful for relieving stress.
Cardio- Vascular Exercises
Cardiovascular exercises are meant for balancing three factors to get maximum safety and effectiveness. You can also increase intensity, frequency, and duration. You will also require to use warmup before doing any intensity workout and cool down after ending the workout.
What Cardio exercise you can choose?
You can include general cardio exercises such as running, brisk walking, cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, and rowing. If you go to the gym than perform cardio machines workouts such as elliptical trainer, treadmill, stationary cycles, rowing machine, stepping machine, ski trainer.
Cardiovascular exercise increases your breathing rate and heart rate in the moderate to a high level for 10 minutes. Exercise performed with basic strength such as weight machine, lifting weights, resistance exercise, and core workouts, which are not believed as a cardio workout as they don’t increase heart rate easily from exercise.
These exercises also perform by inhaling fresh air to stop a person from smoking. Also, promote healthy lungs.
Aerobics exercise is another way to increase lung functions healthily. It helps to increase your respiratory efficiency. These workouts include doing activities such as cycling, jogging, and skating. Performing strenuous exercise also helps in deep breathing and improve your entire elasticity of the body.
The main aim of doing aerobic exercises is to get sufficient oxygen for your body. Having a good oxygen supply promotes better body functions. Therefore, it is important to exercise properly. You can feel the expansion in the chest cavity to get the desired results.
If you feel any doubt, then check with your doctor and take advice. Once you practice these exercises regularly, it will help to clear your lungs and provide better oxygen supply to your body.
Warm-up and Stretching
Doing warm-up before exercise is an important part of an exercise to let blood flow in the muscles and loosen up. It is considered essential just before your workout.
Usually, you are trained to stretch the primary muscles to utilized in the exercise after doing a warmup.
Regular workout advice
Perform 5-10 minutes at the low-intensity workout to get ready your muscles to increase heart rate.
Begin at the intensity of 50-60% of your greater heart rate, therefore doing any exercise will be your workout routine. It can be walking, running at an easy pace that keeps your heart rate elevated.
After doing a complete exercise in your targeted heart rate, you need to cool down with 5-10 minutes of smaller intensity
Make a target of heart rate of 50-60% of maximum heart rate for 5-10 minutes and cool down your body.
Doing water workouts helps to strengthen your body as water makes your body resistance. It also strengthens your lungs. You can perform stretching and weight lifting workouts in the water.
Create a routine of exercise to get comfortable with water workouts. Make sure to have deep neck water while doing exercise. It is essential to take a quick breath due to compression feeling in the body. It promotes lungs efficiency from regular practice.
The oriental breath is another exercise for breathing that increases the lungs efficiently.
How to do?
- Begin with simple breath-in and breath-out.
- Inhale 3-times from your nose without breathing out.
- One more time, take a breath and lift your arms at shoulder level.
- Let your arms rest in front of the body.
- Open your arms as wide as possible for you to take overhead by inhaling.
- Finally, now you can breathe-out while getting your arms back to the beginning position.
Counting or numbering on your breath is easy, but in an effective way to boost lung functions.
How to do?
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
- Breath-out to make your lungs empty.
- Breath-in again and assume number-1 as you focus on breathing.
- Hold the breath for some time and breath-out. Then again take breath-in assuming number-2 and breath-out after 3-seconds.
- Keep repeating for 8-times to enhance your lung capacity.
Tips To Boost Your Lungs Health
Stay hydrated enough to promote lungs functions and other body parts. Keep your body hydrated helps to maintain fluid level balanced and mucosal linings thin in the lungs. This thin lining helps to boost better functions.
Laughing is another best exercise for abdominal muscles to increase your lungs health. It forces air in the lungs and clear it, then allows fresh air to enter in whole parts of the lungs.
Keep yourself active by doing moderate-intensity activity. You can involve yourself in daily activities for certain things such as healthy lungs, better mood, and a healthy heart. At least aim to perform 20 minutes of daily activity such as bike ride, brisk walk.
Join breathing club
Lung’s problem makes it hard for you to stay active. However, you can join a breathing club.
In breathing club, you will get supporting groups for people with breathing problems. You can follow breathing techniques to encourage your healthy and quality life.
Cigarette smoking is the main cause of lung problems. An individual who ignores lung health and regularly does smoking can increase the chances of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. The smoke of cigarette narrows down the air passage and create breathing difficulty. Having breathing difficulty causes swelling and inflammation in the lungs, which result in chronic bronchitis.
Gradually cigarette smoking destroys the tissues of lungs and induces the growth of cancer. Try to limit and quit smoking to have healthy lungs.
Avoid Indoor Pollutants
Indoor pollutants can cause to damage lungs function. You need to stay away from chemicals, radon, and second-hand smoking to prevent lungs disease. Try to keep your home and car smoke-free. Try to do a radon test at your home. Skip outside exercise when there are poor air days. You need to speak to your doctor if you are becoming sick.
Reduce your exposure to outdoor pollution
There will be different air days, which may cause to provide unhealthy air. You need to care for your health from outdoor air pollutions. Keep track of natural disasters and climate change, which can directly affect your lung’s health.
- Make sure your breathing is slow and steady all the time while doing a breathing exercise. While breathing out, your lungs should become empty.
- Always sit in a straight form for doing breathing exercises.
- If you can, dabble some water on the face while breathing exercise, it helps to boost your bradycardia and oxygen circulating movements in your body.
- Take important care while holding your breath. Let your muscles relax while breathing workout.
- Adjust your body according to temperature and surrounding, which also known as acclimatizing the body.
- Begin with small sets and gradually boost the holding time with exercise.
- Avoid overexerting your body.
- Take care while doing water exercises.
Many people may not get the increased capacity of lungs till they get breathless by playing with kids or cat. However, now you know the above breathing exercise can help to improve your lungs capacity. Even you can do these exercises in your free time.
Respiratory or cold infection can cause serious problems. There are several things to follow to protect your lungs health.
How to do?
- Clean your hands with water and soap. You can also use alcohol-based cleaners as a substitute.
- Avoid crowds during flu and cold season.
- Maintain good oral hygiene to protect yourself from germs and infections in the mouth.
- Brush your teeth twice every day and check with your dentist every six months.
- Have vaccinated every year to prevent influenza. Check with your doctor to find out if you need a pneumonia vaccine.
- If you often get sick, try to prevent it from the spread at your family. Keep a distance between people you meet.
Have regular healthcare check-up
Having regular check-ups helps to prevent lungs problems. If you feel continued breathing problem or cough, then have an appointment with your doctor and find a cause of your problem and treat it.
Natural cleansing for healthy lungs
Lung cleansing methods help to benefit people, who smoke or have continued air pollution exposure. Chronic conditions require treatment to prevent it from affecting the respiratory system, such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, and COPD.
Cigarette smoke, breathing in pollution, and other toxin cause to damage the lungs conditions. Maintaining lungs health is important for the rest of the body.
You can try steam therapy for better lung health. It involves breath in water vapor to open your airways and let the lungs drain the mucus. It provides an environment to dry out the mucous membranes in your airways and restrict the blood flow.
The steam helps to add moisture and warmth to the air and improve your breathing and melt the mucus in your lungs and airways. Breathing water vapor provides relief and makes breathing easy.
Having control over your cough helps to clear your mucus from your airways. Coughing is the ability of the body to remove toxins that entered in mucus. Controlled cough also melts the excess mucus in your lungs and remove it from airways. Removing mucus prevent lung diseases.
Postural drainage includes lying in various positions to utilize gravity and remove mucus from your lungs. This practice helps to improve your breathing and prevent infections in the lungs.
How to do?
- On your back
- Lie down over the floor you can also use the bed.
- Keep a pillow below your hips to make sure that the chest should be lower than your hips.
- Gently breath in from the nose and breath out from your mouth.
- Perform each inhale two times.
- Repeat for some time.
- On your side
- Lie using your one side, let your head rest over a pillow or arm
- Keep a pillow under your hips.
- Let your head rest over your pillow or arm.
- Practice 1:2 breathing and keep doing for some time.
- Then, repeat on your other side.
- On your stomach
- Place a pile of pillows over the floor.
- Lie down using your stomach on the pillows. Make sure to keep the hips over the chest.
- Curl the arms below the head to support.
- Follow the 1:2 breathing type.
- Do this for some time.
Add cherries helps to relieve inflammation. Having inflammation in the airways causes to feel congested and heavy. Adding anti-inflammatory foods helps to lower the inflammation to decrease the symptoms.
Here are the foods to fight inflammation.
- leafy greens
Percussion is one effective way to relieve excess mucus from your lungs. Your respiratory or health professional will use a cupped hand to rhythmically tap over chest wall to remove the trapped mucus in your lungs. Combining chest postural drainage helps to remove mucus from airways.
Green tea is a good drink, which contains antioxidants. It helps to lower the inflammation in the lungs. This synthesis helps to protect your lung tissue from the harmful sensation of smoke inhalation.
Take care of your lung’s health with the above exercises and tips. Try to avoid toxins, which can enter through air pollution and cigarette smoke. These toxins gradually get trapped in the mucus and create an infection.
Having good respiratory health also depend on your surroundings and whether or the inability of the body to eliminate mucus from the lungs or airways.
If your condition unable to get better, don’t ignore it. Having prolonged cough or breathing problems causes to form infection and diseases. Have a proper health check-up and a healthy lifestyle.