HOW TO BE ‘LUNG FIT’
A newly released white paper, ‘Lung health and attitudes to wellness: An Australian perspective’, takes a qualitative look at how Australians, especially those predisposed to common respiratory issues such as asthma and persistent cough, can improve their lung health at home. The report surveyed 55 Australians, noting their concerns, views and behaviours over 12 months. It revealed that participants during this period were affected by several factors – including air pollution caused by bushfire smoke, pandemic associated lockdowns with limited access to physical activities, chronic and seasonal respiratory conditions and a general sense of being less “well”.
Dr Anssi Sovijärvi, Department of Clinical Physiology, Helsinki University, Finland and lead researcher on the paper says, “Prior to events such as catastrophic bushfires and COVID-19, people often didn’t appreciate the important role our lungs play in keeping us healthy. People maybe took for granted their ability to simply breathe.” The clinical paper noted that patients exhibiting the most profound baseline respiratory muscle weakness tended to receive the greatest benefit from Respiratory Muscle Training, a pressure-based physiotherapy technique as well as regular use of vaporised steam. “I have seen how the WellO2, a Finnish innovation that combines traditional steam with gentle pressure, can deliver an easy form of homebased Respiratory Muscle Training,” says Dr Anssi Sovijärvi. Other techniques Dr Sovijärvi recommends to improve lung function include:
• Regular sauna visits inhaling warm and humidified air.
• Good general hygiene to limit your exposure to respiratory viruses.
• Maintaining your general fitness and a healthy weight.
• Regular wellness activities – such as yoga, Pilates and dedicated breathing classes.
• Singing – a fun way to exercise your lungs.