More than 17,000 breaths are taken daily by the average person. Wrightstown Health & Fitness (WHF) has four tips to try during Healthy Lung Month in October to help you make the most of them.
1. Are you breathing correctly?
Given how many breaths we take daily, you’d think instructions aren’t needed. But, there is a right and wrong when it comes to the 17,280-23,040 breaths that the Environmental Protection Agency says the average person takes each day. In a Breathe Right survey of 1,001 Americans six years ago, 61% who identified themselves as mouth breathers were admittedly doing it wrong.
We’ve all had to do it at some point. Maybe during intense workouts or just from being stuffy from a cold or allergies. But don’t make mouth breathing a habit. You benefit most when you breathe through your nose and get your belly involved too. Harvard Health explains the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing and how to do it correctly.
“When I’m teaching patients exercises, a lot of what I teach is breathing no matter what body part we are talking about,” said Theresa Bowers of Bowers Physical Therapy in Newtown.
Life’s stressors, even pre-pandemic, turned many into upper chest breathers, said Bowers, who practices within WHF at 650 Durham Road in Newtown. “Learning to breathe correctly, not just while you exercise but throughout your day, is a big part of keeping your body working correctly,” she said. That is why she makes it a focus with all of her patients.
If you want to focus on breathing, taking a WHF yoga class is a great way to do it. The yoga instructors accommodate all levels of experience, so don’t let yoga intimidate you!
“It’s all about just getting used to listening – first to your breath, then your body,” WHF Yoga instructor Angela Cherill said of the yoga classes.
You can also concentrate on your inhalations and exhalations with the Breath Work Meditation group, which regularly practices one hour of cyclical breathing at WHF. They will meet next on Oct. 28, Nov. 18, and Dec. 9. The suggested donation to join in is $10. Arrive at 7 p.m. and start at 7:30 p.m.
2. Are You Eating A Lung-Friendly Diet?
When it comes to our weight and cholesterol levels, we often think about our diet. But, did you know what you eat can help your lungs too? A daily heaping of tomatoes and fruits, especially apples, slowed the natural decline in lung function among smokers and may have even helped repair damage, a study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found. Eating more than two tomatoes and more than three portions of fresh fruit every day brought the benefit.
Diet can also help manage lung diseases and may even lower your risk of lung cancer, according to information on the American Lung Association (ALA) website. Being overweight or underweight can impact those with pulmonary fibrosis, ALA reported. Just as certain foods can make asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) worse, the organization stated.
Inspire Nutrition, which has offices located within WHF, can guide you on dietary changes. For one-on-one counseling for weight loss, disease management, improved athletic performance, and more, call 267-217-1330.
3. Are you getting enough exercise?
Exercise strengthens our lungs, so staying active is key to our health. Adults should get in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily and strength training for all major muscle groups twice a week, under the national fitness guidelines that the Mayo Clinic outlines.
Your lungs can benefit from both aerobic activity and strength training, the ALA reports on its website. Strength training, such as weight lifting, can strengthen your core, improve posture, and tone breathing muscles, the ALA explained.
Being fit may also slow the natural decline of our lung function as we age, according to research presented at the American Thoracic Society 2016 International Conference.
WHF personal trainers can help you get fit, even if you face challenges. Our team is adept at working with clients with injuries, chronic pain, disabilities, and other health issues. Whether you are an athlete or joining a gym for the first time, they can tailor workouts for your success. Call 215-598-7750 or make an appointment to get started with a free first week for new clients.