Learn how to develop healthy lungs, to avoid lung damage and to regain
lung capacity for a longer, more productive life.
As an ex-smoker, I can tell you none of us realizes the importance of
breath until we’re short of it. We can go 3 weeks without food, 3 days
without water, but only about 4 minutes without air. It’s pretty clear
we need to do all we can to develop healthy lungs, avoid lung damage,
exercise, diet, and commit to therapy to regain healthy lungs, once they’ve
been damaged. The following paragraphs can help you do all of it.
Avoiding Lung Damage:
Obviously, avoiding damage is on the short
list of how to develop healthy lungs. Unfortunately, if you’re like
me, when you’re young, you don’t think much about that stuff. I smoked
for almost 20 years, but that isn’t the only thing that damages your lungs.
Smoking pot, huffing and snorting drugs can do as much damage. Don’t
ask me how I know.
Some careers, like welding, steel work, painting, coal work, hair
dressing, plating, etc. can damage your lungs. Take the precautions
seriously. If a job you’re doing calls for a mask or breathing
apparatus, use the best one you can get for the job. Even exercise
isn’t enough to recover from some lung damage.
Exercises To Develop Healthy Lungs:
It may seem obvious, but
aerobic (with air) exercises are the best to develop healthy lungs.
These types of exercise get your heart rate and breathing up to a high level
and maintain that level for at least 20 minutes, 3-5 times a week. The
exercise has to slowly increase in intensity as your fitness improves and it
no longer taxes your breathing enough. Jogging, walking, swimming,
fast dancing, rowing, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers are probably
the best for aerobic exercise.
Healthy Weight For Lung Health:
Many don’t exercise their lungs
because of their weight. Most of us don’t realize the wear and tear we
put on our lungs by being overweight. I had a friend who sounded like
he had just run a race, while he was just sitting in a chair. He was
about 200 pounds overweight. Even 20 pounds can make a huge difference
on your lungs. If you don’t know what your healthy weight should be,
or how to get to it, here’s a page with
tips to help you.
Regaining Healthy Lungs:
This year, it will be 19 years since I
smoked. Fortunately, I only have asthma interfering with my breathing.
Both my mother and my sister died while on oxygen due to emphysema (from
smoking). If you have a breathing condition due to lung damage, you
may think that’s a reason to take it easy, not exercise, maybe allow a few
extra pounds…because you’re sick, right? My experience with asthma
has taught me I must get regular aerobic exercise and keep my weight down to
keep breathing. If I stop exercising for as little as 3 days, I can
feel it in my breathing. By a week, I’m taking my inhaler 2-3 times a
day. If I gain as little as 10 pounds, I have great difficulty doing
my exercise and other daily activities.
Don’t take my word for it, listen to my mother and sister. My
mother went on oxygen at age 65 and got serious about her health. She
quit smoking, lost weight and walked for exercise every day. She
walked a couple miles a day in the neighborhood, rolling her oxygen tank
behind her. She walked in the shopping mall during the Winter and
Summer, long enough to be awarded a 1,000 mile t-shirt at around age 70.
She lived 15 years after starting her oxygen, learned oil painting and won
awards, and did thousands of hours of volunteer community service. My
sister went on oxygen at age 62, refused to exercise and gained about 30
pounds. She lived only 3 years longer. What can you do with 12
years? Don’t let a little lung damage keep you down.
As my Mom and sister can tell you, developing healthy lungs and regaining
as much lung capacity as possible after damage, require discipline and hard
work, but they can reap great benefits. If weight control and exercise
added 12 years to my Mom’s life after she got a fatal lung condition, how
much can they benefit you? The earlier you start developing healthy
lungs, the longer you’ll enjoy the life you have. Don’t wait until
you’re short of breath, like we did.
If you’re looking to improve your health and fitness, you
probably want a healthy life…including mind, body and
spirit. You can renew your mind and spirit with God’s help. He can heal
the stuff your diet doesn’t control. If you want His help, go to