Watch your kids sometime as they dash up and down stairs or dart across the playing field effortlessly. They don’t even need to stop to catch their breath! We grownups on the other hand might have to pause mid-activity as we gasp for air, breathless. What causes this? The lack of aerobic conditioning and good health habits, that’s what.
Each and every day, we breathe in and out about 20,000 times. All this breathing uses every aspect of the respiratory system: the nose, throat, voice box, windpipe, and lungs. Many factors including genetics, smoking, pollutants, irritants, and infectious diseases can cause your lungs to develop problems and age faster than normal. If the air you breathe is dirty or polluted, your respiratory system will filter out the toxins… but only if your respiratory system is healthy.
The good news is that damage to your respiratory system is often not permanent, and can actually grow healthier and stronger with age.
Here are 8 ways to improve your respiratory system health.
1. Increase Your Walking Speed
Right now I’m going to talk specifically about the simple act of walking, but not just a little stroll down the street. How fast—or how slowly—you normally walk may predict how long you’ll live, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In this particular study, researchers clocked the walking speed of more than 34,000 people, age 65 years and older.
The subjects who averaged 2.25 mph or faster lived longer than those who walked more slowly. Now, I’m not necessarily saying this means that if you increase your walking speed you’ll automatically live longer. More importantly, if you notice you simply can’t speed up, that could be an indicator that you have an underlying health issue. Try picking up your walking speed and if you find yourself really struggling, have a talk with your doctor about what may be going on.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight puts more stress on your lungs and compresses all respiratory muscles, making them work harder and less efficiently. Make sure your diet is nutritionally sound, easy to follow, and most importantly, that it works so you can maintain a healthy weight. Whatever nutrition and exercise program you choose, take it seriously and lose the extra pounds.
3. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water every day helps maintain a healthy weight and gives a thin consistency to the mucus lining your airways and lungs. Dehydration can cause that mucus to thicken and get sticky, which slows down overall respiration and makes you more susceptible to illness.
4. Avoid Smoking and Smokers Lungs
Smoking damages lung and respiratory health by inducing inflammation, speeding oxidative stress in respiratory cells, and even causing cell death, potentially taking you down the road toward emphysema, chronic lung disease, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer. It is important to quit smoking and avoid having smokers lungs as you age.
There are numerous methods to quit smoking. The trick is to keep trying until you find one that works for you. If you’ve tried to quit before, it’s time to try again, because the single best thing you can do for your lungs is to stop smoking. Smoking does great damage to your respiratory system, but the good news is that your damaged smokers lungs can actually be undone.
Remember, even if you’ve never picked up a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, you may still be breathing in an alarming amount of pollutants every day. So, strengthening your respiratory system is helpful even for nonsmokers because you’ll be armed against all possible invaders: allergens, bacteria, and viruses. Plus, you don’t want to be tethered to an oxygen machine when you’re 100 years old, do you? Strong lungs are a key component to overall good health as we age.
5. Take Supplements
Your lungs are highly sensitive to methylation, a process that, when balanced, occurs within the DNA of cells and prevents abnormalities in how DNA functions. When unbalanced, DNA methylation is serious business and can lead to cancer, including lung cancer.
To prevent serious lung diseases, we’ve got to make sure our bodies are methylating properly. To do this, make sure your multivitamin has at least 2.4 mcg of B-12, 1.3 mcg of B-6, and .4 mg folic acid per day. If not, you should add an extra B-complex supplement to your regimen.
6. Learn Yoga Breathing Techniques
Are you a shallow breather? You might be if most of your breaths come from your chest area. I suggest learning to take deep, long breaths, sending fresh oxygen deep into the bottom of your lungs. This not only helps your lungs function better, but it can also bring on a sense of calm. This can be quite renewing, and is excellent exercise for your lungs. Over time, it can help increase your lung capacity.
7. Challenge Your Lungs to Improve Your Respiratory System
Simple yet challenging exercises like breathing through a straw can improve your lung function by increasing your lung capacity. Overall, I want you to become more aware of your breathing so you can improve it over time and have strong lungs for a lifetime.
8. Consider Chiropractic Care
After having a chiropractic adjustment, many people comment along the lines of, “I feel like I’m taking in more air.” One study on over 5,000 people showed that chiropractic intervention improved overall breathing in 25% of the study participants.
I truly don’t want you to be on oxygen when you are much older; being tethered to a tank is no way to go about life, and our goal here is to help you feel fit and active when you’re 100 years old! By taking these simple steps earlier in life, you are setting yourself up for many years of healthier, heartier lungs. So to keep your respiratory system strong, don’t smoke and avoid smokers lungs, maintain a healthy weight, avoid exposure to pollutants, stay active, and eat healthful foods—all easy-to-follow lifestyle measures you can take to ensure a healthy, vibrant respiratory system.
How You Can Slow Down The Aging Process
There are other anti-aging strategies, in addition to diet, that you can follow on your journey. You can find more strategies in my newest book, The 17 Day Plan to Stop Aging. My book explains that it is totally within your power to prevent and even reverse these symptoms of aging and proposes a 4-cycle plan that uses nutrition, physical fitness, and mental exercise to get you ready for longevity. Please visit this page to learn more about the 17 Day Plan to Stop Aging: CLICK HERE!
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