For most times, we don’t have to think about our lungs, unless we experience some breathing issues. Similar to how we take care of the rest of our body, our lungs need attention too because they keep us healthy and strong.
The main function of our lungs is respiration – a process where oxygen enters the blood and carbon dioxide leaves the blood. A reduced lung function would typically mean that exchange of these gases is reduced. As we age, our lung capacity, or the total amount of air our lungs can hold decreases. Without the required amount of Oxygen, we are more prone to numerous respiratory diseases.
While the world battles COVID-19, known to cause severe respiratory issues in severe cases in vast numbers, therefore taking care of our lung health now is of utmost importance.
Breathing exercises can help the lungs work more efficiently and help us increase lung capacity and have positive long term effects.
Here are 3 breathing exercises for better lung function
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Known as “belly breathing”, basically engages the diaphragm, which does the most work when it comes to breathing. This exercise is particularly helpful for people suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease to strengthen the diaphragm. Best practice would be to do this exercise when rested. Here are the steps
- Relax your shoulders and sit back or lie down.
- Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.
- Inhale through your nose for two seconds, feeling the air move into your abdomen and feeling your stomach move out. Your stomach should move more than your chest does.
- Breathe out for two seconds through pursed lips while pressing on your abdomen.
2. Simple Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is known to significantly increase our lungs’ full capacity. Consciously inhaling slowly expands your belly and lowers the diaphragm. It then expands your ribs, opening them up, followed by expansion and lift of the upper chest. Exhale as fully possible by letting your chest fall, and contract your ribs. Finally, bring your stomach muscles in, lifting your diaphragm and expel the air.
3. Pursed Lip Breathing
- Sit up straight, as having a good posture promotes the movement of lungs
- Breathe in deeply through your nose in a slow and controlled manner.
- Purse your lips
- Breathe out through pursed lips and try to ensure that the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation