If you’re a smoker dropping this habits would have an incredible impact on better breathing. Cigarette smoke irritates and causes physical damage to your lungs and is often the primary cause of COPD in the first place.
In addition to letting go of damaging habits like smoking, developing healthier habits as a regular part of your daily or weekly routine can also give your tremendous improvements in your respiratory and overall health. Any form of cardiovascular exercise (i.e. running, jogging, swimming, dancing, etc.) can help by increasing your level of fitness in a way that aids with shortness of breath. Additionally, activities like yoga and tai chi that are centered on breathing have been shown to improve lung function.
- For a more direct approach you can improve your breathing by strengthening your respiratory muscles with a breathing fitness trainer like Expand-A-Lung. Breathing fitness trainers that offer inspiratory and expiratory resistance work by strengthening your diaphragm and your intercostal muscles. Your diaphragm is the primary muscle used for breathing. However, when you suffer from COPD your diaphragm doesn’t work as well and you compensate by using muscles in your neck and back. The Expand-A-Lung breathing fitness trainer is a simple and effective way to improve the strength of this key muscle and make breathing easier and more efficient. Additionally, diaphragmatic breathing is known to lower blood pressure and even releases serotonin (which makes you feel great). Furthermore, intercostal muscles are a set of 22 tiny muscles located between the ribs and they are responsible for chest movement in addition to providing some lung protection. Breathing consists of 2 parts: Inhalation, and exhalation. During a deep inhalation the external intercostal muscles are stimulated and work to lift and spread the ribs. While during a deep exhalation the internal intercostal muscles depress pulling the ribs closer together. The result of strengthening these muscles with a breathing fitness trainer results in the ability to take deeper more profound inhales and exhales increasing the volume of oxygen intake as well as the volume of carbon dioxide released.
- In addition to developing a regular exercise routine, and using a breathing fitness trainer for a few minutes a day at least 3 times per week you should also ensure that you are maintaining healthy weight and diet. If you are significantly overweight your heart and lungs have to work much harder which can make breathing a challenge. Conversely, people who are significantly underweight have a greater risk of dying from COPD than those who maintain a healthy weight, and even those who are overweight. The key is balance. If being overweight is the issue regulating the amount of calories you intake, maintaining a balanced diet, and increasing your daily activity can help you lose weight and improve your COPD symptoms. Some people that suffer from COPD may burn up to 10 times the amount of calories breathing than people who do not suffer from COPD. This can result in patients becoming underweight which may lead to: less muscle strength, worsening lung disease, and more frequent flare ups. Adding supplement shakes for extra calories, and eating more frequently can help. Exercise and breathing exercises (i.e. using a breathing fitness trainer) are still beneficial for COPD patients that are underweight, but patients should keep track of the amount of calories burned to compensate with food and/or supplements.
It’s not a surprise that eliminating bad habits like smoking and committing to healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet and regular exercise could play a key role in improving the symptoms caused by COPD. However, targeting the respiratory muscles with a breathing fitness trainer like Expand-A-Lung is often overlooked and can have a tremendous positive impact.