12 January 2022
By Roger Kennedy
In recent times, we have become all too aware of how important our lungs are and how much we take being able to simply breathe in and out without difficulty for granted.
Breathing is the most natural and the most important process our body performs and for most of us, most of the time, we can do so with ease, but as we get older or if our lung health declines, it can be a bit more difficult to walk without wheezing or blow the candles on our cake out without great effort.
If you want to minimize your chances of breathing difficulties and ensure that you breathe easier right now, here are a few simple things you can do, but remember if you are experiencing serious breathing issues or if your ability to breathe changes in any way, you should seek expert medical advice immediately.
Try breathing exercises
There are numerous breathing exercises that you can use to improve your lung capacity They work by exercising your diaphragm so that you can expand your lungs more effectively and take in more oxygen. If you practice them every day )providing your doctor thinks it is safe to do so) you will soon find that breathing is much easier and more enjoyable too.
Get tested for sleep apnoea
If you snore a lot at night, and if you wake up feeling less than refreshed no matter how much you have slept, then there is a chance that you could have a condition known as sleep apnea.
Sleep apnoea is when you stop breathing multiple times at night. Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common form of the illness and it can make breathing difficult at night. Luckily, it can be treated with CPAP machines, gum shields or tonsil surgery depending on the primary cause, so it is always a good idea to see your GP if you think you could have this condition. The sooner you sort it out, the sooner you can breathe easy again.
Filter your air
If you’re constantly coughing and sneezing, if your sinuses are always inflamed and if you often get a blocked nose, it could be that the quality of air you are breathing in is not ideal.
Various pollutants from dust, pollen and pet dander can find their way into your nose and cause your breathing to be less than optimum. Luckily, you can buy home air filters that will help to clean the air inside at least!
If you think outdoor air pollution could be the problem, then you can buy masks that filter air pollution, but not all of them are COVID-safe so you should check that before buying.
Do more challenging exercise
If you do not do any exercise at all, then start by walking up and down the stairs more often. If you do exercise regularly try to increase the intensity of your cardio workouts. Why? Because cardio exercise is great for keeping your heart and lungs healthy. The fitter you are, the less likely it is you will struggle to breathe when climbing hills, walking up tall staircases or running for the bus.
Eat more omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids, which you can find in oily fish like salmon, buts and seeds and many plant oils, amongst other things, is great for promoting breathing health because it is known to reduce inflammation, and it is inflammation that is thought to be responsible for many breathing-related health issues such as asthma. It’s by no means a cure, but it will help!
Eat more tomatoes too
One study found that people who eat tomatoes at least three times each week have fewer asthma-like symptoms less instances of wheeziness and better lung function than those who do not, so serving up lots of tomato salads and pasta sauces is probably a really good idea if you want to breathe easy.
Supplement with herbs
There are also many herbs and supplements that are thought to improve lung health. These include Yarrow, Plantain and Licorice, so if you’re looking for an easy way to boost your lung health, taking one or more of these may help. Just makes sure that you check with your doctor first because some supplements can interact with existing medications.
Ditch the shop-bought cleaning products
Many of the cleaning products that we use to make our homes sparkling could actually be affecting our breathing, and not in a good way either. Although it is possible to find non-toxic cleaning products, the vast majority contain nasties like triethanolamine which can trigger asthma symptoms and cause allergy-like reactions in many people
The good news is, it’s really easy to create your own cleaning products using just water, vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda, and actually these homemade products often work better than the shop-bought ones, while also being better for your health and your breath.
Do some ab crunches
You may not care about sculpting the abs of an adonis, but if you can stomach the challenge of doing at least 20 daily ab crunches, you will reap the rewards in other ways. Ab crunches are great for strengthening your chest and abdominal muscles (obviously) and since it is these muscles you use to breathe in and out, the stronger they are, the more likely you are to be able to breathe easy for longer.
Give up smoking
Need I say more? Smoking is the worst thing you can do for your lungs, and although you can never reverse all of the damage done by smoking, you will notice an improvement once you give up. There is so much help and advice out there to help people who want to quit that it need not be a scary undertaking at all, and it will lower your risk of illnesses like cancer and heart disease significantly too.
Adding some or all of these ideas into your daily life will help you to breathe easier for longer, and when you breathe easier, life is easier too!