Published on September 30th, 2015 | by Dr. C. Stewart Darby, III0
Doc Darby: Adopt New Habits To Breathe Easier
(NAPSI)—According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the United States and worldwide, causing more deaths than colorectal, breast and prostate cancers combined—but a few simple steps can help you protect your own life.
What To Do
Don’t Smoke: Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand cigarette smoke is the best way to lessen your risk of serious lung conditions.
Eat Well To Stay Well: Eating nutritious foods can go a long way in decreasing the risk of lung disease and cancer. Remember to incorporate antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, nuts and dark green vegetables into your diet. Antioxidants prevent cell damage, which is a precursor to cancers and other diseases. Drinking adequate amounts of water is also essential to lung health—and particularly important for seniors because the sense of thirst weakens with age. Water keeps the lining of the lungs thin, helping them function more effectively.
Stay Active: Being active and partaking in aerobic exercises is especially beneficial to lung health. You can increase your lung capacity and improve endurance just by walking every day for 30 minutes. Try parking farther from a destination or taking the stairs instead of the elevator to get some aerobic exercise into your life. If you’re worried about the possibility of injury while doing physical activity, consider getting a GPS-enabled medical alert device, such as those offered by Bay Alarm Medical, to ensure you can get medical assistance if you can’t call for help.
Take A Deep Breath—And Then Another: A more gentle approach to strengthening your lungs is to do breathing exercises, which are great if you have limited mobility. Practice breathing exercises five to 10 minutes, three to four times a day. One such exercise is called diaphragmatic breathing and has you lie on your back with knees bent and inhale deeply through your nose for three seconds. Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest, taking note that your belly and lower ribs should rise while your chest is still. Tighten your abdominal muscles and exhale slowly through the mouth. Getting into the habit of breathing mindfully will improve lung capacity in addition to being a calming activity.
Your body can become more susceptible to aches and pains with age but it’s important to pay extra attention to your lungs. You need them every second of every day and keeping them in good shape can lead to a healthier, happier life.