Who wants to lose the ability to breathe? As with so many other serious health conditions, the answer to that question is determined by how you choose to live each day. Lead a healthy, energized life, and the chances of COPD ever entering your life will be remote.
Here are some specific ways you can prevent COPD from entering your life.
Of course, we can say this enough. Cigarettes are by far the number one cause of COPD. There are so many arguments for quitting, and this is yet another big one.
Stick to smoke free bars and restaurants
Even if you don’t smoke, being around people who do significantly increases your risk of COPD. Chinese researchers estimated that the equivalent of 40 hours per week of such “passive smoking” for five years made people who never smoked nearly 50 percent more likely to develop COPD than those who weren’t around the smoke.
Follow a Mediterranean diet
This approach to eating, with its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, fish, and whole grains, can reduce your risk of COPD by 25 percent. In contrast, following a typical American diet high in refined grains, cured and red meats, desserts, and French Fries increases the risk by 31 percent. Meanwhile, other studies find that diets high in starches and sodium also significantly increase risk of developing COPD. The Mediterranean diet’s anti-inflammatory effects may be one reason for its impact on COPD risks.
Exercise, particularly aerobic exercises like walking, biking, or swimming, help your lungs become more efficient at providing your body with the oxygen it needs. Not only do your heart and lungs benefit by the more robust breathing but so do all the muscles and connective tissues in and around your lungs. If you get winded easily, it’s time to take daily walks and build up your aerobic fitness.
Become a healthy breather
Too many people take lots of small breaths as they go about their business. Rapid breathing also becomes the norm in stressful times. But for better lung health – and overall health, for that matter – learn to breath more deeply and less frequently. Inhale through your nose slowly and fully; your chest and abdomen should move together. If only your chest moves, your breathing is too shallow. Exhaling should take twice as long as inhaling. The more you clear your lungs out with strong exhalations, the healthier and fuller your inhalations, will be! While there’s no agreed upon standard, try to reduce the number of breaths you take in a minute to just six. Deep breathing not only improves lung function but can also lower blood pressure and provide relaxation, even in stressful times.
Are you already suffering from COPD? There is a good chance if you are your doctor has already prescribed you various medications and programs to help you. Come back on Wednesday for some simple lifestyle improvements you can also do to help you manage your COPD.
Giving you the most current and up to date advice on living a longer and active life.
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