The Philippines is celebrating National Lung Month this August, and what a perfect time indeed to remind oneself of tips on how to take care of your respiratory and circulatory system.
If you’re looking for healthy habits you can do at home, here are tips from our respiratory health experts to improve your respiratory health:
- Incorporate daily breathing exercises
- Perform cardiovascular exercises
- Practice safe hygiene for healthy lungs
- Ease yourself into quitting smoking for good
- Avoid unhealthy habits and take care of your mental health
- Follow a balanced diet
- Protect yourself from air pollution
- Consult with your doctor regularly
1. Incorporate daily breathing exercises
You don’t have to go to the gym or go outside to perform breathing exercises that will benefit your respiratory health. Breathing exercises can be done for free at home, and it wouldn’t take up much of your time.
One recommended breathing exercise by the American Lung Association that you can do in between working at home is pursed-lip breathing. This routine trains your body to control the air coming in and out of your lungs. Do this exercise by simply breathing in through your nose, then breathe out twice as long through your mouth while keeping your lips pursed.
Another breathing exercise recommended by the John Hopkins University for people who contracted the coronavirus is a deep breathing routine while lying on your back. Simply lie on your back and bend your knees without your feet touching your buttocks. Place your hands on top of your stomach and close your lips, then place your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Now breathe in through your nose and gently pull down into your stomach using your hands. Exhale through your nose with control. Repeat the exercise for at least a minute.
These exercises do not require much commitment and you can even perform this with your family at home, spending quality time with them.
2. Perform cardiovascular exercises
If you want to take it up a notch to really help improve your respiratory health, then incorporate cardiovascular exercises in your workout routine at home.
There are several things you can do without the need for equipment. Jogging in place and performing jumping jacks are good exercises if you don’t have the luxury of space in your apartment or condo. If available, you can even go up and downstairs for five minutes, just be sure that you don’t go too fast so you won’t fall.
If you want to invest in your health, some equipment that you can use is jumping ropes and an exercise bike. These would not only help you improve your respiratory system, but they will also keep you in shape. For a variety of exercise tips, you can also check out Pinoy Fitness blog.
With all the free resources available on the internet, there’s no excuse for you not to take care of your respiratory health at home! Just make sure to double-check your resources. If you want to make sure that it’s the right routine for you, call up professional trainers and physical therapy experts to help you out. For good measure, get yourself prepped and ready through the different cardiovascular services available in The Hospital at Maayo.
3. Practice safe hygiene for healthy lungs
Practicing proper personal hygiene is important not only for yourself but also for the people around you. With the continuous spread of the COVID-19 virus, it’s important that people should work hard to help protect one another.
Some hygienic practices for the lungs that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reminds everyone is to cover your mouth when you’re coughing, especially when in a public space. Of course, you need to follow this up with proper handwashing with soap.
Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is also an important part of hygiene. Make sure that the mask is covering your mouth and nose when you need to run errands outside. Dispose of the mask immediately when you get home and do not leave it lying around.
4. Ease yourself into quitting smoking for good
There is no better time to ease yourself to finally quit smoking than today.
Not only does smoking weaken your respiratory health, but it also brings about several health hazards such as lung cancer. In fact, smoking and lung cancer research published in the National Library of Medicine shows that 90% of deaths from lung cancer are estimated to be due to smoking.
If you find it difficult to quit smoking on your own, the Department of Health (DOH) launched a smoking quitline which you can call to seek for advice. There are also support groups such as Nicotine Anonymous (NicA) if you’re looking for individuals going through the same journey as you.
5. Avoid unhealthy habits and take care of your mental health
Unhealthy habits such as smoking and alcohol abuse do not simply come out of nowhere. In fact, wellness studies suggest that there is a clear link between depression and the practice of these dangerous habits.
It is unfortunate because the COVID-19 pandemic also gave way to a rise in depression among the youth. This means that there is a risk for them to resort to smoking and alcohol especially when they cannot find help in the Philippines.
All of these factors are interlinked together so it’s important to prevent unhealthy habits before they even start by going into the root of the problem. If you need to seek advice for your psychological health, then check out this updated list of mental health services in the Philippines.
Remember that taking care of your mental health contributes largely to your holistic fitness including your respiratory and lung health.
6. Follow a balanced diet
Taking care of your cardiovascular system consequently promotes healthy lungs.
Start by drinking lots of water to keep your whole body hydrated especially when working extensive hours at home. Water is essential to help with blood circulation to and from the lungs. It also keeps our lungs hydrated and the mucus flowing.
Foods that have anti-inflammatory properties such as garlic, onions, and ginger also lowers cholesterol that is detrimental to your cardiovascular health.
And while it is tempting to snack on cookies and sweets while staying at home, a good substitute for these are apples and grapes that are rich in flavonoids, and vitamins E and C.
The food that you eat directly affects your body so while it is not wrong to enjoy yourself with chips, it’s important that you consume plenty of nutrient-rich foods at home.
7. Protect yourself from air pollution
Global air pollution is on the rise and it will inevitably bring dangers to your respiratory health. While wearing facemasks is already good against COVID-19 and polluted air outside of your home, it’s important that you also do your part to prevent further damage to the air we breathe.
Some things you can do to minimize air pollution is to dispose of your garbage properly, to conserve energy at home, and to use environmentally safe products.
Remember that your personal health is only as good as the way you treat the environment.
8. Consult with your doctor regularly
There is no better way to take care of your respiratory health and your overall fitness than with the help of a trusted doctor.
Make sure that you get professional advice before facing health problems on your own. There are several respected doctors here in Cebu that you can book and contact if you are in need of immediate services.
Go ahead and ask your doctor to help and guide you in achieving your fitness goals.
These are just a few tips you can follow to promote healthy respiratory health during National Lung Month in the Philippines. Check out The Hospital at Maayo’s medical services if you want to protect yourself with the help of a doctor today.