The New Year is a time to look at ways you can improve yourself and live a better life. For many people, it’s common to make health-related resolutions at this time of year. If you have respiratory issues, you might think that such resolutions are beyond your reach, but that’s simply not true. Your resolution doesn’t have to be about starting an intense new workout regimen or running a marathon by the end of the year; instead, you can set the resolution to improve your respiratory health in 2022. Here are a few tips to help you do just that, so you can breathe a little easier this year.
Reduce Your Exposure to Pollutants
Air pollution can damage even the healthiest of lungs. For those with existing respiratory conditions, however, even low levels of air pollution can impact your lungs’ function. Unfortunately, pollutants are all around us—both indoors and outdoors—and avoiding them altogether is practically impossible. So, what can you do? Simply put, you should take basic steps to reduce your exposure to pollutants as much as possible.
Indoors, you should avoid obvious pollution sources like secondhand smoke, harsh chemical cleaners that emit strong odors, and buildings with high levels of radon or asbestos. Be sure to have your home tested for these latter two pollutants, as they can be very dangerous for your health (whether you have a lung condition or not). You should also consider investing in air purifiers, and place them in the rooms you use the most—especially your bedroom. This can help remove pollutants and allergens from the air you breathe, ensuring you breathe only clean air that won’t irritate your lungs.
For outdoor pollutants, the best you can do is make an attempt to stay indoors on days with high levels of pollution. Keep an eye on the air quality index (AQI) for your area, and avoid physical activities outdoors any time the AQI is above the green zone. If the AQI pushes up into orange or red, try to stay indoors altogether; if you must go out, consider a medical-grade face mask any time you’ll be outdoors for an extended period.
Exercise to Strengthen Your Lungs
Working out more is a common New Year’s resolution, but for those with a lung condition, the goal is a bit different. You shouldn’t be focusing on getting a bikini body or packing on the muscle (though those can be nice side effects of a good exercise regimen). Instead, you should be focusing on exercises that will strengthen your lungs and improve their overall health and function.
Any kind of aerobic activity can help strengthen your lungs and heart to help them work more efficiently; this can include something as simple as a brisk walk, or more intense cardio like HIIT, so choose a workout that meets your fitness abilities. Strength training exercises can also help with lung function by improving your posture to open up your chest more, and toning your breathing muscles; Pilates is a great, low-impact option to get you started.
Avoid Infection and Illness
At this time of year, respiratory illnesses are quite common—and we’re facing another year of high COVID case counts, on top of the normal cold and flu season. While a common cold might not be a problem for most people, for those with an existing lung condition, even a minor illness can be debilitating. This makes it extremely important for you to protect your overall health and try to avoid catching any kind of illness to begin with. Follow basic health and hygiene tips, such as:
Preventing illness and infection helps you to avoid further complications with your lungs, which can have much longer-lasting impacts on your health than it would for other individuals. It’s essential that you take all kinds of respiratory illness serious, and protect yourself as much as you possibly can.
Try Some Breathing Exercises
In addition to regular workouts, as mentioned above, some targeted breathing exercises can greatly improve your lung function this year. Pursed-lip breathing and belly breathing (also known as diaphragmic breathing) are the two most popular kinds of lung-strengthening exercises. You can get full instructions on these exercises from the American Lung Association.
Use the Right Tools
Finally, make sure you’re employing the right tools at home to care for your respiratory health. Depending on your condition, this might include oxygen concentrators, oxygen-conserving devices, nebulizers, pulse oximeters, and more. You can find essential equipment for your lung health here at Elixair Medical. Contact us today to learn how to receive the devices you need.