Tips to keep your lungs strong and healthy
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign that aims to raise awareness of lung cancer symptoms, treatment, and support available.
The rates of developing lung cancer rise as you get older, as it’s most often diagnosed in people aged 70 to 74. Keeping your lungs healthy and strong through exercise, diet and lifestyle will help you feel good, be more confident and protect yourself.
Here’s our top tips for keeping your lungs working at their best…
There are all sorts of exercises that can help you keep your lungs healthy and pumping oxygen into your body, as well as strengthening your muscles and making you warmer.
Even walking around the house after sitting down for a while or doing some normal household chores are good for you, as they break up inactivity.
If you have a long-term lung problem it can sometimes feel like exercise is making things worse, but the truth is that whether or not you have a lung condition you will benefit from exercise.
You could start by exercising gently and doing arm and leg movements when you sit down. After that, get in the habit of walking a little more around the house, around your street, or to the local shop. You will soon find that you will be less breathless, feel stronger, and will be more confident when doing other exercises and activities.
The most important thing to remember is to exercise safely and speak to your doctor before you take up an exercise, especially if you are at risk of a fall or have a medical condition.
Stay Healthy Over Winter
Over the winter season there’s more risk of catching a cold or flu, which could make you cough and wheeze, and even develop bronchitis or pneumonia. However, you can take precautions to keep your lungs healthy over winter.
Regularly wash your hands and carry a hand sanitising gel to minimise the risk of catching an infection from someone else.
If you are over 65, or have a particular medical condition, ask your GP service about the free flu vaccine and pneumococcal shot.
Keep any lung conditions under control over the cold season, especially asthma or COPD. Make sure you stock up on your inhalers and medications that will help keep your lungs healthy.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables as well as lots of fibre and whole grains to help get essential vitamins and nutrients, and keep your body healthy, and reduce your risk of lung cancer.
Did you know that the number of toxins you inhale from smoking mean that smoking is thought to be the main cause of about 90% of all cases of lung cancer?
If you smoke, quitting is by far the best thing you can do for your lungs, no matter how long you’ve been smoking for. After ten years of not smoking you’ll decrease your risk of developing lung cancer by half. You’ll also lessen your risk of other serious diseases, save money, protect your loved ones against second hand smoke and improve your sense of smell and taste!
Thankfully there are lots of services out there that can help you quit smoking and make your lungs healthier. You can register for a ‘quit kit’, be inspired by success stories, find information on medicines available and get support on the NHS Smokefree website.
You should also talk to your GP or a pharmacist to get help and recommendations on what you can do on your journey towards a smoke free future.
What exercise do you do to stay healthy?
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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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