“Take a deep breath. Inhale peace. Exhale happiness.”
Spare a thought for your lungs
It should go without saying why lung health is important, but let’s recap:
Through breathing we draw air into our lungs, from which our lungs extract oxygen. This life-giving oxygen is then infused into our blood and circulated around our bodies to all our organs and muscles, allowing them to function properly.
Everything is fine until it isn’t.
Because the majority of us are healthy and have good lungs, most people take lung health for granted. Like many other aspects of our health, we simply ignore it until it’s a problem…
Everything is fine until it isn’t.
The best thing you can do for your lungs is to stop smoking. Simple as that. Its never too late to quit!
The number one cause of lung disease remains smoking. Smoking causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, which can be fatal and has no cure.
Other factors that can have a negative effect on lung health the quality of the air you breathe.
Having clean air to breathe is extremely important when it comes to keeping your lungs healthy.
Smoke, both indoor and outdoor, from cooking fires, bush fires or second-hand smoke from smokers who live or work with you, will all contribute to lung damage. Chemicals in your home and workplace can also negatively affect your lungs.
Lung health begins at home.
Improving your home’s indoor air quality can be a great start towards looking after your lungs.
The first step can be to simply ensure that your home has proper ventilation, but other steps include: ensuring that all fireplaces and indoor braais have proper chimneys that funnel all smoke outside, keeping to a strict no smoking rule indoors, for guests and family members, limiting the use of noxious chemicals, paints, solvents, and cleaning supplies, and never using aerosolised insect repellents in your home.
Another way to keep your lungs happy include being aware of the air quality of your neighbourhood and where you work. There are many clever apps out there that use GPS and local weather station reports to give highly accurate air quality reports. Avoid outdoor exercise on days with poor air quality and try to keep your doors and windows closed until the air quality improves.
Whether its indoors or outdoors, one of the best ways to improve your lung health, is to make sure you get adequate cardiovascular exercise. The deep breathing that forms part of activities like running, swimming, and cycling are like push- ups for your lungs. Forcing them to expand and take in more air to supply your hard-working muscles with the necessary oxygen. Just like with any other muscle group, regular exercise will not only protect the health of your lungs and heart but will actively improve it.
Finally, the ultimate step in taking care of your lungs and celebrating the abundance of fresh air we have in Africa, is to dedicate yourself to breathwork. Breathwork is the practice of conscious breathing and can transform your mental and physical wellbeing.
For more information on breathwork and its benefits, follow the link below:
“Improper breathing is a common cause of ill health. If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly. There is no single more powerful -or more simple- daily practice to further your health and well-being than breathwork.”
It’s never too late to make your lung health a priority.
By making these relatively small changes you can ensure that the ease you breathe with today, stays that way in the long run.