10 Everyday Ways to Maintain Strong Lungs
On average, we take about 20,000 breaths per day, and we have our lungs to thank for it.
To keep our lungs running like the well-oiled machines they are, we have to protect them. Many of us may already practice the tips below, but in case you need a reminder, here are 10 ways to maintain strong lung health.
Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer- linked to 80% – 90% of lung cancer deaths. It is also a major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which can lead to chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If you’re not a smoker, great job! If you’d like to quit but believe you need a hand, tobacco coaching and the “Quit Tobacco Digital Health Assistant” can help Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and Blue Care Network (BCN) members.
Keep the inside of your home free from pollutants
After cigarette smoke, the second biggest threat to the lungs is radon. Take a look at this blog if you need help testing the radon levels in your home and ultimately removing it.
Vacuum your carpets regularly and steam clean yearly to eliminate the dirt, dust mites, mold and other pollutants that could become trapped in it.
If you use a humidifier, be sure to change filters, clean the inside of it and replace the water regularly. Failing to do so could result in an airborne fungus that could inflame your lungs.
Avoid exposure to outdoor pollutants
There is such a thing as a bad air day. The Air Quality Index (AQI) tracks pollution coming from factories, fires, cars, pollen and other sources on a scale from 0 to 500. An AQI value of 50 or below represents good air quality, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality. Type in your zip code, city or state to check the AQI of your area on AirNow.Gov.
Get plenty of exercise
The benefits of exercise are seemingly endless, and there is no exception when it comes to the lungs. The same way it strengthens muscles, consistent exercise also strengthens our lungs and heart. As our physical fitness improves, our bodies become more efficient at getting oxygen into our bloodstream and transporting it to our working muscles.
Both aerobic activities and muscle-strengthening activities can benefit your lungs. There is also a benefit to practicing breathing exercises, which can help strengthen the diaphragm and teach the body to breathe deeper and more effectively.
Wash your hands regularly
Many of us got better at washing our hands during the COVID-19 pandemic. An airway infection can get into your lungs and cause harm just like a cold can, and one way to kill germs that can cause both is to wash your hands with soap and water multiple times per day.
Five more quick-hit tips to help maintain strong lungs
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, fiber, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
- Practice good oral hygiene.
- Get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19.
- Get regular check-ups to prevent diseases. Sometimes lung disease isn’t detected until it’s serious.
Read more lung health content from AHealthierMichigan:
- Differences in Chronic Asthma and Exercise-Induced Asthma in Children
- How Weather Affects your Lungs and COPD
- Can I be Affected by Secondhand Vape Smoke?
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