Healthy lungs play an integral role in our well-being. Many of us didn’t realise or consider the importance of healthy lungs and this global pandemic teaches us the importance of precautions, safety and good health. As we age, our lung capacity and functions decrease. Smoking, pollution, and other health problems such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can make it worse.
Though a person cannot control the amount of oxygen their lungs can hold. These lung exercises will at least help improve the quality of breathing, managing airflow and oxygen levels. Here are some basic exercises to improve your lung health along with its functional capacity.
1. Pursed-lip breathing
This exercise is super easy and can be done anytime anywhere. This exercise will especially be beneficial for those who aren’t very physically active and are not using their breathing muscles as frequently as an active person would. This exercise helps make it easier for lungs to function and improve the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Sit straight — good posture promotes healthy lung movements. Inhale slowly throws your nostrils.
Purse your lips — as if you are pouting. Breathe out as slowly as possible through pursed lips.
2. Belly breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing commonly known as belly breathing is one of the best exercises that uses diaphragm. As the name suggests, the belly is where it all happens. The rise and fall of the stomach with each breath inhaled and exhaled. It is supposed to be primary breathing, but many of us develop a habit of using neck and back muscles that limit the amount of air that enters and leaves the lungs. Follow these steps to practice diaphragmatic breathing.
Lie down straight and relax
Put your hands lightly on your belly.
Inhale through the nose and make sure your stomach is moving outward while your chest remains still.
Exhale slowly for about two seconds, and your stomach should move inwards.
3. Rib stretch
Focus on the ribs that stretch when you breathe in and out. Stretch your ribs as much as you can while inhaling and exhaling.
Stand in upright position by keeping your hands on your hips.
Slowly inhale air until your lungs fill.
Hold your breath for 20 seconds or for however long is comfortable.
Humming is a great way to activate not only your abdominal muscles but also your lungs. A simple humming can increase your lung capacity. It also forces stale air out of the lungs so more fresh air can enter. It reduces stress and can help the patient remain in restoration mode.
5. Simhasan or Lion pose
It is a unique pose that requires you to make a sound. The sound created during Simhasana resembles the roaring sound of a lion.
Distance your knees as far as you can comfortably, and toes of both the feet must be touching each other.
Move the body slightly forward. Place the palm of your hands on the floor right between the knees.
Slightly arch the back and move the head backwards.
Open your mouth and draw the tongue outwards towards the chin as far as you can.
As you exhale from the mouth, produce a sound of ‘aah’ coming out from your throat.
Close the mouth after exhalation and inhale.
Relax the body in the final position.