Hello and welcome to my article on methods to improve lung health naturally. This article has shifted away from the muscle-building topic but is essential to overall health, especially during the current pandemic. I consider lung health extremely important to enhance your overall health. As you know true health is not only what we see on the outside but also what is happening inside our body.
The role of our lungs is to bring in air from the atmosphere and pass oxygen into the bloodstream. From here it circulates to the rest of the body. Structures outside the lungs are also needed to breathe properly.
To breathe we use the muscles of the diaphragm, the intercostal muscles, the muscles of the abdomen, and sometimes even muscles in the neck. Building up strength in these areas is just as important, if not more important than building bulging biceps.
The role of the diaphragm
The diaphragm sits below the lungs and is shaped like a dome. This muscle powers most of the work in breathing. During contraction it moves down, allowing more space in the chest cavity, thus increasing the lung’s ability to expand. As the chest cavity volume increases, the pressure inside goes down, and the air is sucked in through the nose or mouth and down into the lungs.
As the diaphragm relaxes and returns to the relaxation state the lung volume decreases because the pressure inside the chest cavity goes up, and the lungs expel the air.
Think of the lungs like bellows. As they expand, the air is sucked in for oxygen. As they compress, the exchanged carbon dioxide waste is pushed back out during exhalation.
What happens inside the body during breathing?
Air enters through our mouth or nose and travels down our trachea, which is also called the windpipe. After this, it reaches a section called the carnia. At the carnia the windpipe splits in two, creating two mainstream bronchi. One bronchi leads the left lung, and the other to the right.
Next, the pipe-like bronchi split again into smaller bronchi and then even smaller bronchioles, very similar to the branches of a tree. This decreasing pipework then terminates at the alveoli, which are little air sack endings. It is within the Alveoli that gas exchange occurs. Oxygen is transported inside the body and the body and carbon dioxide are expelled out of the body through the lungs.
I have provided you with a very brief look at the function of the lungs. We should all appreciate its importance to life.
Importance of healthy lungs in the fight of COVID 19
This deadly virus targets our airways and breathing system, so it is vital, more so than ever before, to look after our lungs. If our lungs are working well they are better at keeping the airways clear and will be able to remove harmful substances more easily. Our lungs defend us from breathing in harmful material such as pollution, tobacco, and viruses like SARS-Covid-2, which causes COVID-19.
Simple steps we can take to improve lung health
COVID 19 is much worse for those of us who smoke. Smoking causes airway diseases which are a risk factor for more severe symptoms of covid 19.
Stopping smoking works wonders for your body, after just 24 hours of your last cigarette, the lungs start to work better!
As I mentioned before it is important to keep our airways clear so that harmful substances can be removed more easily. Smoking disrupts this process – it causes damage to your lungs and makes it difficult to clear out all of the harmful substances, such as viruses and bacteria. This means that it will be harder for smokers to fight infection.
There are over 1.1 billion people worldwide over the age of 14 who smoke. Can you imagine how vulnerable these people are? Look after yourself and stop smoking. Giving up a habit is hard, I am sure, but it is even harder for you to fight of a deadly virus and live a healthy lifestyle. Don’t be the person who has to suffer, simply because you chose to smoke. Take small steps to quit, perhaps reduce the amount you smoke by one cigarette per day until you eventually give up. This is just a suggestion but perhaps smokers can come up with their own strategies for quitting.
I have great news, I am now qualified as an immunizer! This means I now meet the standards to safely inject the vaccine into members of the public. I can now apply this knowledge to help the NHS and vaccinate members of the public with seasonal flu and pandemic vaccines.
I have decided to take this course as I want to help in any way I can, to get this vaccine out as fast as possible, to those who need it. We all want life to return to normal, without fear of viruses and social distancing. If you have any questions about the vaccine please do ask in the comments below. Most people are afraid of the side effects such as pain perhaps or any underlying health conditions. Please feel free to ask as I would love to help in any way I can!
I’m so proud of this accomplishment! I want to share this with all of you.
The vaccine prevents an amazing 2 to 3 million deaths per year. Getting vaccinated will help to keep your lungs healthy. Viruses such as flu and pneumonia can damage the airways, increasing the risk of more severe infections and other lung diseases in the future.
Not only does the vaccine protect you but it also protects vulnerable people in the community. If enough of us are vaccinated it means people who cannot have a vaccine are protected. This is called herd immunity.
3)Avoid Air pollution
Did you know air polution can cause heart & lung disease, stroke and even diabetes? All of these are risk factors for severe symptoms of COVID 19. Long term exposure to poor air quality can make our lungs more vulnerable to infections.
When exercising outdoors, choose routes with lower air pollution. This could mean smaller and less busy roads or even a local park. My favorite outdoor activity is cycling along the grand union canal. It is nice and quiet, there is a lot of greenery, and the canal water provides a sense of calm and relaxation.
Better air quality at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has been linked with fewer deaths from conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
Remember we are all responsible for improving the air we breathe in. These simple steps, taken by us, will lead to better air quality.
- Using your car less. (I use my bicycle more, and walk when I can)
- Using energy-efficient devices.
- Switch off sockets that are not being used (We all often forget to switch off sockets once we remove the phone from the charger, I am guilty of this.)
- Using fireplaces and wood stoves less.
4)Be physically active
Physical activity can help prevent lung disease, and being fit means you can recover faster from any infections you catch. This is why I encourage doing compound exercises such as squats as they keep your heart working, as well as your muscles and joints.
Regular exercise can reduce the risk of obesity – hopefully, all of us hard gainers do not have to worry about this too much. This is one of the many benefits of having a fast metabolism. Regular exercise also reduces the risk of developing heart disease & diabetes, which are risk factors for severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Keeping active can improve your immune system and make it better at fighting off viruses.
5) Practice Diaphragmatic breathing
This is a great way to improve your lung health naturally. It is also known as belly breathing. It makes the diaphragm muscle much stronger, which will improve the efficiency of your lungs. A few steps of this kind of breathing are as follows:
- Relax your shoulders, you can sit back or lie down on your back
- Inhale through your nose for two seconds, feel the air move into your abdomen, and feel your stomach move out. Your stomach should move more than your chest does.
- Breathe out through the lips while pressing on your abdomen.
My preferred method of breathing is the Wim Hoff method. This is a great way to improve lung health naturally and can also be used to relieve stress & anxiety. If you would like to give it a try watch the video below!