As we grow older, many of us experience declining lung functions. Each human lung contains about 300 million balloon-like structures called alveoli, which replace carbon dioxide waste in the blood with oxygen. The lungs are especially sensitive organs as their large surface area exposes them to the continual risk of damage from pathogens, toxins, or irritants. Lung capacity can be reduced as the muscles in the diaphragm become weaker. Lung tissue that maintains open airways can also lose its elasticity, causing you to have a smaller air intake. Aging also causes the air sacs to lose their shape and become baggy, hence your ability to hold your breath is no longer as good as that of a younger person. However, by following these tips below, you can initiate regenerative processes that restore the structure and functions of healthy lungs.
Exercise to Increase Lung Capacity
Exercising regularly keeps both your lungs and body in shape. Think of exercising as cardio for your lungs. Since your muscles require more oxygen during exercising, your lungs must also work harder to deliver the oxygen. Aerobic and cardio exercises are the best workout for your lungs. It trains the muscles between your ribs to expand and contract quickly, thus strengthening them. The air sacs also have to work faster to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen. This helps to build strong lungs that work efficiently for longer.
Avoid or Reduce Exposure to Pollutants
Pollutants can include seemingly innocuous things like synthetic air fresheners and candles that release chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene into the air, to more obvious pollutants like exhaust from vehicles, and secondhand smoke. Our lungs may be able to resist these air-borne toxins when we are young, however, the level of resistance declines with age and makes us more vulnerable to infections and diseases. You can reduce your exposure to such pollutants by exercising in a park instead of near traffic to avoid breathing in exhaust fumes. If you want to freshen or scent the air at home, choose an aromatherapy diffuser and natural essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances.
In addition, stay vigilant about indoor pollutants like dust, mold, and pet dander. They can cause irritation to your lungs and cause allergies. To combat indoor pollutants, you can use an air purifier with a HEPA filter, which forces air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles like pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.
Lastly, spending more time in nature and breathing in air that has been purified by plants helps you to take in more oxygen and gives your lungs a break from pollutants in the city.
Join Our Retirement Community and Live Among Nature
Our retirement community is situated within Northwest Harris County and our residents are surrounded by scenic beauty. Less than an hour away from us is the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center where our residents love to visit for free guided nature hikes, and surveying the diverse wildlife. Contact us today to find out more about the healthy and stress-free lifestyle that we offer in our retirement community!