You knew it was coming. Smoking damages the lungs, causing all sorts of problems, from lung cancer to respiratory disease. And it definitely affects your lung capacity. We have all seen the comparisons between healthy lungs and smokers’ lungs – according to the NHS, your lung capacity will have improved by at least 10% nine months after you quit smoking.
Do breathing exercises
Take a deep breath. No, really, it is that simple. There are a number of breathing exercises you can do that help keep your lungs healthy. One involves standing up with your back arched, breathing in and holding your breath for 10 seconds before exhaling – which can easily be done while watching the telly.
Consume enough vitamin D
A study released this year found that higher vitamin D levels were associated with better lung function. In the summer, depending on where you live, most people can get enough vitamin D from the sunshine. As the winter months approach and the sun disappears, it may be worth investing in vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D can also be found in foods such as oily fish, egg yolks and red meat.
Indulge your inner musician
If you are one of the many people who enjoy singing in the shower then you may be in luck, because singing can, apparently, aid lung capacity. According to the British Lung Foundation, it’s particularly helpful for patients with respiratory diseases. People with lung conditions told the foundation that controlling their breathing through singing helped manage their conditions. It is an area that is still being investigated. A study of 20 Indonesian students, published in 2015, found that the average lung capacity of choir singers was higher than that of non-singers.
One reason people want to increase their lung capacity is improve their sports performance. Helpfully, exercising regularly is one of the ways you can do that. As you should have learned in biology class, your lungs bring oxygen into the body and expel carbon dioxide – when you exercise, this process happens more quicker and makes your lungs stronger and more efficient over time.
Sort out your posture
Studies have shown that slumped sitting decreases lung capacity, because the position squeezes your lungs, making them smaller. So, for a very quick fix, sit up straight to get the best lung capacity you can. A good posture can help with back pain, too.
Improve the air quality in your home
If you live in a city, air pollution is unavoidable. Even short-term air pollution can affect your lungs. But there are steps you can take to improve the air quality at home. Keeping it clean will help get rid of dust, while keeping house plants could help keep the air fresh, depending on the species. On days when pollution levels are low, be sure to open the windows.