We have hardly considered the critical role our lungs play in keeping us healthy until recently when the entire world was hit with covid-19 pandemic. As covid-19 virus laid a drastic impact on our lungs, many of us experienced problems in breathing. Therefore, it is essential to take care of our lungs just like other parts of our body.
Lungs allow exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, which is necessary for the body to function properly. Lung capacity is the total amount of air lungs can hold. Pollution, age and smoking are some factors that reduce the efficiency of lungs over time. This results in breath shortness and difficulty in breathing.
Fortunately, there are some exercises that can help you keep your lungs healthy and strong.
#1 Diaphragmatic or Belly Breathing
Diaphragmatic or belly breathing is one of the most common and simplest techniques that can help your lungs function properly. It focuses on strengthening your diaphragm muscle. To do this exercise, sit straight or lie down. Breath in slowly through your nose, and let your stomach rise or move out. Make sure you don’t raise your chest. Exhale through pursed lips and watch your stomach go inside. Practice this exercise for about 5 to 10 minutes daily.
#2 Pursed-Lip Breathing
Often inflamed airways hamper air flow through the lungs which trap air inside and make difficult for the lungs to inhale fresh air. Pursed-lip breathing slows down your breathing, allowing your airways to be open for a longer duration to facilitate better air circulation. To do this exercise, inhale slowly through your nose, purse your lips or pout and exhale as slowly as possible.
#3 Rib Stretching
Rib stretching simply means stretching and expanding your ribs that allow lungs to take in as much air as possible. To do this exercise, you are required to stand straight, and put your hands on the hips. Start breathing in slowly until your lungs are filled to its full capacity. Hold it for about 20 seconds or as long as you are comfortable. Breathe out slowly and relax. Repeat this exercise three or more times a day, and it will help you expand your ribs that can take more oxygen into the lungs.
#4 Long Breathing
Another great exercise to increase your lung capacity is by increasing the duration of your breathing. Start by counting how long can you hold your breath naturally. Count the seconds and exhale for the same amount of time. Your inhale and exhale should be of the equal length. Gradually increase the count in your inhale and exhale until you conveniently increase the length of time.
Benefits of breathing exercises
- Relaxes your body
- Reduces stress
- Detoxifies your body
- Increase energy levels
Know that exercises don’t give results overnight, so you need to adopt it in your everyday lifestyle in order to see long-term results. While lung exercises can overall improve your lung capacity, we highly recommended that you consult your doctor if you have a severe lung disease.