How many times a day do you stop and pay attention to your breath? Zero? You have plenty of company.
Possibly the most common bodily function to take for granted, breathing is something we do every second from birth until we die. That’s a lot of breaths. But if the lungs aren’t healthy and active, our breathing can be compromised.
Exercise isn’t just for weight loss
According to the American Lung Association, the heart and lungs are active when one is physically active. And as fitness improves, the body becomes more efficient in getting oxygen into the blood to be supplied to the working muscles.
If you haven’t exercised in a while and find that trouble breathing holds you back from physical exercise, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program. You may want to start small with breathing exercises or a beginner yoga flow.
If you’ve got a cardio routine but have recently found yourself strapped for time or unable to get to your usual workout facility, here are a few exercises you can do to strengthen your lungs from the comfort of your home.
Stand up straight with hands by the side. Jump and spread out your legs while bringing your hands above your head. Jump again to get back to the original position. Repeat as fast or as slowly as you can to get the heart rate and lung function up.
Stand with your feet slightly apart. Lift your right knee as high as you can, preferably up to the chest, and lower it. Bring your hands to touch the raised knee. Repeat with the left knee. Repeat a few cycles, and you’ll almost immediately notice the increase in heart rate and breath cycles. If you want to kick up the burn, add weights.
Once the adrenaline is kicking and the body has loosened, mix it up a bit with the jump squat. This requires jumping with the feet apart and semi-squatting with bent knees when landing from the jump. Do three sets and combine with the others to gradually improve lung health.