What if You don’t Have Lung Disease?
If you don’t have lung disease now, the best way to avoid
getting it is not to smoke. If you do smoke, well, what else can we say
besides—it’s time to quit. Work with your doctor on this. Quitting can be very
hard for lots of people, but your chances of success are highest if you get help
from your doctor.
If your lungs are healthy, and you want to keep or build up
your lung capacity, aerobic exercise is an efficient way to go. This includes
activities that get your heart rate up and keep it there. Brisk walking, jogging
and swimming are common aerobic activities.
There are other activities that focus on deep, regular
breathing. Yoga might not look like a lung-building exercise, but when you hold
a difficult position for a period of time and breathe deeply, you can see how it
works. Qigong, another exercise that originated in the East, can also help you
learn to slow down your breath and breathe more deeply. Give one of these a try
if you’re looking for something a little on the peaceful side.
You’ll find it hard to get out of the habit of exercising
once it has become part of your routine. Tell yourself that next few months,
you’ll exercise three times a week, the same days each week, the same times.
After three months, you probably won’t want to break this habit. And remember,
exercise needs to feel a little bit like work. Challenge yourself.
- Perform your activity more quickly than usual, or double
the amount of time you usually devote to exercise.
- Add weight training to your routine. This can increase
muscle mass, and muscle burns more calories than fat.
Your doctor can give you advice about starting a safe
exercise program, and recommend a healthy heart rate to reach when you’re
Kids and healthy lungs
One of the best ways to help your children have healthy
lungs is to keep them away from second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke comes from
the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar. It also comes from smoke exhaled
from the lungs of smokers.
- Increases the frequency and severity of asthma attacks
- Causes 150,000 to 300,00 lower respiratory infections
per year in children 18 months old and younger
- Causes fluid build-up in the middle ear
- May contribute to sudden infant death syndrome.
If you smoke and need help quitting, talk to your doctor.
People who get the help of a doctor have higher success rates. Your doctor can
talk to you about the different options available, and together you can pursue
the method that is likely to work best for you.
American Association for Respiratory Care; American Journal of Respiratory and Clinical Care Medicine; American Lung Association.