Oxygen is vital to bodily functions and is made available to the body via the respiratory system. At the center of the respiratory system is a pair of, spongy, pink colored organ called Lungs. They provide oxygen to the body and eliminate CO2 via respiration. CO2 is a waste product that is made by the cells during their normal, everyday functions. Hence the Lungs are designed to exchange these gases every time you breathe in and out.
The modern world has seen a sharp rise in air pollution and high levels of particulate matter post the industrial era, adversely affecting the health of the lungs and overall health in general. No wonder, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) a disease primarily related to the lungs, was the second highest cause of death in India after heart disease in 2017, killing 1 million (958,000) Indians that year, according to University of Washington's Global Burden of Disease study, 2018.
For sustained and good health it is imperative that we take care of our Lungs. Here are 3 steps to take care and heal this essential organ.
1) Practise Pranayama and other Deep Breathing exercises
"Prana" means life energy and "yama" means control. Pranayama has its origins in the Yogic sciences and is fabled to cure and also prevent many ailments of the lungs and the body.
The practice of pranayama involves various breathing exercises, like Anuloma-Viloma, Kapalbhati, Ujjayi etc. You intently inhale, exhale, and hold your breath in particular patterns or specific sequence, while meditating or performing Asanas. Asana is a posture adopted in performing hatha yoga.
You can also Breathe in through your nose while you count 1 to 4, then breathe out at least twice as long or uptill the count of 8, through your mouth. This simple exercise will enhance the lungs performance
2) Avoid Smoking
Smoking leads to inhalation of various chemicals, pollutants, particulate matter and tar. These elements slowly deposit in the organ leading to congestion and inflammation of the organ. This can eventually cause premature death due to failure of the organ.
COPD, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and asthma are some of the disease caused by smoking and can easily be averted if one stops smoking or keeps a check on this addictive habit.
3) Avoid pollutants & Prevent Infection
Avoid being in places that are releasing smoke or other pollutants for long periods Exposure to pollutants in the air, damage your lungs and accelerate aging.
Cold flu and other common respiratory infections affect the lungs and their functions adversely; you can avoid these infections washing your hands often with soap and water. Using sanitizers & Alcohol-based cleaners to keep germs away.
Avoiding crowds during the cold and flu season, and wearing a mask.
Try to incorporate these three simple habits into each day: Regularly practise breathing exercises/deep breathing, Stop smoking,reduce your exposure to pollutants & avoid infections. By focusing a little of your energy on these tasks, you can help keep your lungs working optimally for life.
Just by these simple techniques you can keep your Lungs healthy, disease free and optimal.