Seven tips to im­prove your lung ca­pac­ity

The Irish Times - Tuesday - Health - - Health Fitness - ELENA CRESCI

1) Stop smok­ing

You knew it was com­ing. Smok­ing dam­ages the lungs, caus­ing all sorts of prob­lems, from lung cancer to res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease. And it def­i­nitely af­fects your lung ca­pac­ity. We have all seen the com­par­isons be­tween healthy lungs and smok­ers’ lungs.

2) Do breath­ing ex­er­cises

Take a deep breath. No, re­ally, it is that sim­ple. There are a number of breath­ing ex­er­cises you can do that help keep your lungs healthy. One in­volves stand­ing up with your back arched, breath­ing in and hold­ing your breath for 10 sec­onds be­fore ex­hal­ing – which can eas­ily be done while watch­ing the telly.

3) Con­sume enough vi­ta­min D

A study re­leased this year found that higher vi­ta­min D lev­els were as­so­ci­ated with bet­ter lung func­tion. In the sum­mer, depend­ing on where you live, most peo­ple can get enough vi­ta­min D from the sun­shine.

As the win­ter months ap­proach and the sun dis­ap­pears, it may be worth in­vest­ing in vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ments. Vi­ta­min D can also be found in foods such as oily fish, egg yolks and red meat.

4) In­dulge your in­ner mu­si­cian

If you are one of the many peo­ple who en­joy singing in the shower then you may be in luck, be­cause singing can, ap­par­ently, aid lung ca­pac­ity. And it’s par­tic­u­larly help­ful for pa­tients with res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases, though itis an area that is still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

A study of 20 In­done­sian stu­dents, pub­lished in 2015, found that the av­er­age lung ca­pac­ity of choir singers was higher than that of non-singers.

5) Get ac­tive

One rea­son peo­ple want to in­crease their lung ca­pac­ity is im­prove their sports per­for­mance. Help­fully, ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly is one of the ways you can do that. As you should have learned in bi­ol­ogy class, your lungs bring oxy­gen into the body and ex­pel car­bon diox­ide – when you ex­er­cise, this process hap­pens more quicker and makes your lungs stronger and more ef­fi­cient over time.

6) Sort out your pos­ture

Stud­ies have shown that slumped sit­ting de­creases lung ca­pac­ity, be­cause the po­si­tion squeezes your lungs, mak­ing them smaller. So, for a very quick fix, sit up straight to get the best lung ca­pac­ity you can.

7) Im­prove the air qual­ity

If you live in a city, air pol­lu­tion is un­avoid­able. Even short-term air pol­lu­tion can af­fect your lungs. But there are steps you can take to im­prove the air qual­ity at home. Keep­ing it clean will help get rid of dust, while keep­ing house plants could help keep the air fresh, depend­ing on the species. On days when pol­lu­tion lev­els are low, be sure to open the win­dows.

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