If you or someone you know has COPD, you might be researching ways to improve lung health. There are a number of things that COPD patients can do to keep their lungs healthy and minimize sudden flare-ups. In this article we list five simple things to try.
1. Keep a Clean House
Dust is hard on anyone with lung problems. Maintaining a clean, dust-free home can help you breathe better. Vacuum regularly and get rid of all the dust magnets such as carpeting. Avoid using cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals by reading the labels on product before purchasing. Buy products that do not contain VOCs, fragrances, and flammable ingredients. We know this can be hard but avoid air fresheners in general! Substitute the toxic air fresheners for a diffuser and essential oils made with natural ingredients. It will make your house smell just as fresh and is actually good for your lungs.
2. Watch Your Posture
According to Healthline, rounded shoulders and a forward head posture cause the muscles around your chest to tighten. This is what limits the ability of your rib cage to expand and in return, leaves you taking shallow breaths. Sit up straight and try to fully stand up more often during the day. The longer you sit, the less your body can fight the force of gravity and maintain a stable core.
3. Exercise Your Lungs
We talk about breathing exercises often on the Live Actively® blog. If we have not stressed this enough: breathing exercises help increase your lung capacity! A simple way to give your lungs more room is by doing a rib stretch breathing exercise. Stand in an upright position with your hands on your hips and slowly inhale air until your lungs fill up. Hold your breath for 20 seconds. And then slowly exhale. Relax and repeat the exercise three times. Try to do this and other breathing exercises on a regular basis to notice a difference in your breathing.
4. Stay Hydrated
The best way to keep your airways moist is to stay hydrated! It is also a super easy way to improve your lung health. Staying hydrated helps keep the mucosal linings in the lungs thin. The suggested amount of daily fluid per is 125 ounces a day for men and 90 ounces a day for women.
5. Take Vitamin D
According to a study presented by the American Thoracic Society (ATS), people with COPD can benefit from vitamin D. The theory is that since vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties, it can help alleviate the characteristic lung inflammation of COPD. Reducing inflammation in COPD may also reduce the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.