Practice deep breathing
You breathe in and out 12 to 15 times every minute while resting, so take advantage of these breaths by performing some deep breathing lung exercises throughout the day. Simply relax your face, inhale through your nose as deeply as you can, and exhale out through your mouth. “If you want a nice pair of lungs, you want to develop a tidal volume, a fancy word for the total amount of air that you can actually breathe,” says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of FIT To LIVE and spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine. Deep breathing opens your chest cavity and allows your lungs to distribute oxygen evenly throughout the body and remove carbon dioxide waste, a gas that can be detrimental to your organs if it’s not removed properly. Take a few more deep breaths after you get out of bed in the morning or before you go to sleep at night to relax your mind and de-stress your body. These energizing yoga stretches are a great way to start your day.
Take a 20-minute walk
Walking is a simple exercise that gets your heart pumping and builds up your leg muscles. But doctors often suggest regular walks for patients undergoing pulmonary rehabilitation, programs for people who suffer from lung disease. “If you build up all the tissues to function optimally around the diseased organ, it takes the pressure off that uncomfortable organ,” says Richard Casaburi, PhD, professor and chief of the Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Physiology and Medicine, Harbor at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center. In this case, strengthening the tissue around your lungs will help them function better. To get the most out of your stroll, stand straight with your head up, shoulders back, and maintain a heel-to-toe stride. These tiny tweaks prevent your rib cage from compressing, allowing your lungs to fully expand. Intensify your cardio by picking up the pace or climbing up a hill; and you can even incorporate deep breathing to increase your air intake and really get your blood pumping. Check out the other awesome health benefits of walking.