How To Use It
You may need a couple of tries to get the hang of it. After that, a spirometer is easy to use.
Sit straight on a chair or the edge of your bed. If youâve had surgery on your chest or belly, you may be sore there. Hold a pillow there to support it and help keep it from hurting.
Breathe out completely to clear all the air from your lungs.
Close your lips firmly around the mouthpiece. Youâll have to breathe in only through your mouth. Plug your nose if you need to.
Breathe in slowly, and make the piston rise as high as you can while you keep the indicator between two arrows to know you are inhaling at the right pace. Then hold your breath up to 10 seconds. Note where the piston stopped. While youâre holding your breath, it will gradually sink.
Loosen your lips from the mouthpiece when the piston hits the bottom of the cylinder. Breathe out slowly and rest for a bit.
Do this 10 times, or as many as your doctor recommends. Aim to get the piston higher each time.
When you finish, cough to clear any mucus from your lungs. If youâre sore from surgery, hold the pillow against you while you cough.
Repeat the exercise every hour youâre awake, or as often as your doctor says.
You can use a special spirometer if you have an opening in your windpipe because of a tracheotomy. It has a valve instead of a mouthpiece. You hook it up to the tracheostomy tube connected to your throat.
Swimming Could Improve Lung Capacity:
Swimming is an excellent way to exercise your lungs. Swimming greatly focuses on breathing as you practice deep breathing in small intervals, which is good for your respiratory system. This exercise enhances lung capacity, which even helps in other physical activities, such as running. Exercising in water is generally good for the lungs because it works against the resistance and pressure applied by the water. You can also try underwater yoga for improving lung capacity and function.
Can The Lungs Be Exercised
MeiLan K. Han, MD, a professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at the University of Michigan, and the author of “Breathing Lessons: A Doctor’s Guide to Lung Health,” tells Verywell that the amount of lung strength that COVID patients can recover depends on the severity of their infection.
One common misconception is that the lungs themselves can be exercised. In fact, Han says that the lungs are not muscles and therefore cannot be strengthened.
“The lungs are literally balloons that exchange gas,” says Han. “What allows the lungs to open is the diaphragm, which sits underneath the lungs. When it contracts, the lungs are pulled down and they expand and the air rushes in.”
In addition to the diaphragm, secondary muscles connected to the rib cage, as well as those in the shoulders and back, help the chest cavity expand to allow air into the lungs. In patients that are extremely ill, those muscles are weakened from lack of use. Muscle weakness, in turn, can directly affect lung capacity.
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Home Remedies For Congestion
Outside of medications, there are other home remedies you can try to clear up your chest congestion.
- Stay hydrated. Mucus is 90% water and can get thicker when youre dehydrated.
- Use a humidifier, face steamer, or vaporizer.
- Soothe your face with a warm, moist washcloth or breathe in with your face over a bowl of hot water.
- Try deep breathing and positional exercises.
- Try rinsing your sinuses with a nasal irrigation device or nasal spray.
- Prop yourself up when sleeping or lying down.
/8consider Getting A Flu Shot
Taking flu shots can be one of the ways to curb your COVID risk post recovery. It can also lessen the problems of chronic respiratory distress which is commonly encountered right now. In many cases, flu shots have been said to speed up recovery, lessen respiratory complications in high-risk age groups and safeguard you from additional ills, which can set in with a change in season and polluted weather conditions.
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Why Breathing Exercises Help
When you have healthy lungs, breathing is natural and easy. You breathe in and out with your diaphragm doing about 80 percent of the work to fill your lungs with a mixture of oxygen and other gases, and then to send the waste gas out. Lung HelpLine respiratory therapist Mark Courtney compares the process to a screen door with a spring, opening and shutting on its own. “Our lungs are springy, like the door. Over time, though, with asthma and especially with COPD, our lungs lose that springiness. They don’t return to the same level as when you start breathing, and air gets trapped in our lungs,” Courtney explains.
Over time, stale air builds up, leaving less room for the diaphragm to contract and bring in fresh oxygen. With the diaphragm not working to full capacity, the body starts to use other muscles in the neck, back and chest for breathing. This translates into lower oxygen levels, and less reserve for exercise and activity. If practiced regularly, breathing exercises can help rid the lungs of accumulated stale air, increase oxygen levels and get the diaphragm to return to its job of helping you breathe.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Pneumonia
“Pneumonia is a serious illness that can take quite a toll on a person’s lungs and body. It can take anywhere from a week to several months to fully recover from it,” says Dr. Rayman Lee, pulmonologist at Houston Methodist.
The length of time it takes for you to recover from pneumonia is influenced by:
- Your age
- The severity of your illness
- Whether you have other health conditions
- The type of pneumonia
If you’re generally healthy and have only a mild case of pneumonia, your symptoms should begin to improve one to two days after starting treatment.
“Most people with mild pneumonia are able to return to their everyday activities in a week, although fatigue and cough can linger for an entire month,” says Dr. Lee.
Recovery timelines become more murky for people who have severe pneumonia.
“For more serious cases that require hospitalization, we’re not only focused on clearing the infection, we’re also focused on preventing or treating complications that can develop including difficulty breathing, fluid buildup in the lungs, sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome and lung abscesses,” warns Dr. Lee.
Pneumonia and its complications can wreak havoc on a person’s lungs and body. And, it can take anywhere from one to six months for a person to recover and regain strength after being hospitalized for pneumonia.
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Things To Keep In Mind
While lung exercises work well at improving your overall lung health, if you have a chronic lung disease, its always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen. Also, exercise almost never produces overnight results so expect to see positive results over time and not all at once. Lastly, its important to listen to your body, especially if chronic lung problems are an issue. Always make it a point to exercise at a pace that doesnt overtax your condition. All-in-all, the more active your lifestyle, the better the outcome.
/8have Foods Which Help Boost Lung Capacity
A good vitamin and mineral-rich diet boost immunity and there are certain foods which cut out toxins and help you breathe easier as well. It could be an easy way to manage and promote better lung health at home.
While as a rule, one should avoid consuming an excess of processed and refined foods, seasonal produce like beets, green tea, blueberries, tomatoes, nuts and seeds boost lung capacity. Jaggery, citrus foods should be had in abundance as well.
Garlic and turmeric are powerful antioxidant-rich foods which are said to have anti-viral properties.
Make sure to have a lot of Omega-3 rich foods, which are particularly helpful in controlling inflammation in the lungs and cut down the risk of other respiratory ailments.
Experts also recommend people to follow a rich nutrient-dense diet and skip weight loss-aiding diets which may devoid you of needed nutrients for a while post recovery.
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Breathing Exercises After Pneumonia
Recovering from the respiratory disease pneumonia can be difficult 1. According to the Merck website, the risk of relapse in patients recovering from the disease is high in comparison to other medical conditions. One method you can use to limit this risk is to practice breathing exercises. These exercises will help strengthen lung function to prevent further bouts with the disease. Speak to your doctor for more information on breathing exercises and pneumonia treatment 12.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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Positioning Exercises To Clear Phlegm
Your lungs have 5 lobes in total and phlegm can be in any of these.
Positioning exercises use gravity to help clear phlegm that has built up in your lobes.
How effective they are will depend on the thickness or stickiness of your phlegm. It may be harder to clear thick phlegm. These exercises may not work if your phlegm is very thick and sticky.
Wait for at least 1 hour after a large meal before starting these exercises. Stop an exercise if you have heartburn or feel sick during it.
/8avoid Exposure To Pollution And Smoke
People who have just recovered from COVID-19, or have compromised lung function should avoid unnecessary exposure to smoke, polluted environments and any activity which may obstruct functioning. Pollution may not only increase your risk of reinfection, but it may also expose you to PM 2.5, carcinogens and other potentially harmful irritants which can settle in lung cavities and make breathing difficult.
If you must step out, follow all necessary precautions, take medications and care. Steam inhalations and detox habits may also prove good.
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/8respiratory Distress Can Be Commonly Experienced After Covid
Even the young and healthy patients are reporting problems of declining lung function post recovery, some also require oxygen and ventilation support machines, which can disrupt the quality of life as well. Acute respiratory problems and diminished immune functioning can make you prone to other problems as well.
Environmental factors, such as bad air pollution levels are also making matters worse.
Therefore, its pertinent that taking care of your lungs is something that should be at the top of your list after resuming normal life.
We bring to you a list of precautionary measures to follow to protect your lung health post COVID-19:
/8cardio Workouts Can Improve Respiratory Function
Any activity which ramps up your breathing- is a good way to restore lung capacity and function when you are on the road to recovery.
Experts suggest patients pick up moderate or brisk physical exercises or sports which can elevate heart rate and promote blood flow. Go for regular walks , pick up home workouts and cardio activities which are good for your respiratory health. Yoga asanas can also help restore functionality and boost immunity. Aerobic activities may help too.
Remember to be regular with your workouts, but take it slow, initially. Athletes have also been advised to kickstart recovery with rehab exercises which benefit pulmonary health, before moving on to other fast-paced and intense movements.
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Clearing Your Lungs After Covid
You may find that you are still coughing up phlegm or mucus after an infection with COVID-19 . This is normal after respiratory infections. It is how the lungs and airways keep themselves clear.
Keep clearing the phlegm from your lungs to improve your lung condition and reduce the chance of getting chest infections. There are breathing exercises and positioning exercises that can help.
Why Breathing Is Fundamental To Life
Everything in our body requires oxygen to function. Without it, the brain can suffer permanent damage in just 4 minutes.
But breathing is not just a necessity of lifeit also has an array of positive effects on our body, mind, and spirit.
When we breathe deeply and mindfully, our breaths can create profound physiological effects that were only beginning to appreciate with the rise of yoga, meditation, and other breathwork practices in the last few decades.
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Increase Your Activity Level
Increasing your daily activity level, in general, can go a long way towards improving your lung health. Something as easy as brisk walking or bike riding not only works well as a lung exercise but also improves your heart health and overall mood. A study sponsored by the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging demonstrated the benefits of replacing just 30 minutes of sedentary time per day with strenuous or strength-building activities. Study participants had poor respiratory function due to conditions like asthma and COPD. Results from the study showed marked increases in lung capacity, enabling participants to inhale and exhale larger volumes of air on an ongoing basis.
Belly Breathing Aka Diaphragmic Breathing
As with pursed lip breathing, start by breathing in through your nose. Pay attention to how your belly fills up with air. You can put your hands lightly on your stomach, or place a tissue box on it, so you can be aware of your belly rising and falling. Breathe out through your mouth at least two to three times as long as your inhale. Be sure to relax your neck and shoulders as you retrain your diaphragm to take on the work of helping to fill and empty your lungs.
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Phase : Deep Breathing While Sitting
How To Regain Your Strength After Pneumonia
While recovering from mild pneumonia, be sure to:
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Slowly work back into your exercise routine
“Physical activity can help your lungs regain strength but go slow. Start with light exercise and stop if your cough worsens or you have trouble breathing. If a light workout feels okay, you can put a little more effort into your next workout,” says Dr. Lee.
However, Dr. Lee’s advice for someone recovering from severe pneumonia looks quite different.
“The first thing to realize is that your body may be extremely weak after being discharged from the hospital, so you’ll need to take extra care leaning on your support network, if possible,” says Dr. Lee.
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Do Exercise To Strengthen The Lungs
As we all know, exercise is a fundamental habit for good health. In this article, we recommend aerobic exercise. These types of exercise are an excellent way to help strengthen the lungs. In order to get some of the benefits of aerobic exercise, you may run, walk, swim, play soccer, or do any other activity that involves raising your heart rate and breathing heavily.
Munch On An Apple A Day
Apple skins contain compounds that reduce damaging airway inflammation, plus heal and strengthen tissues lining your lungs, says immunologist Joanna Makowska, M.D. No wonder Finnish researchers say eating one large apple daily boosts resistance to pneumonia, bronchitis, and chronic coughs by 32 percent and makes breathing during exertion feel three times easier. More good news: A study published in the International Journal of Food Properties proves polyphenols arent damaged during cooking, so enjoying your favorite baked apple treats also offers lung protection.
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Treat Yourself To A Salty Steam
Inhaling salty, moist air relaxes airways, loosens mucus and boosts blood flow to the lungs, reducing airway inflammation so you breathe 25 percent more easily if you do it twice weekly, say British researchers. In one study, the remedy improved breathing for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by 73 percent! When beach strolls arent an option, try this: Stir two tablespoons of sea salt into two cups of just-boiled water, drape a towel over your head, lean over the mixture and breathe for 10 minutes twice weekly.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
Why Focus On Lung Health
As youve likely heard, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. The novel coronavirus targets the lungs and causes symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath. In most cases these symptoms are mild, but they can become life-threatening in severe cases. The disease can potentially lead to lung failure and the need for a mechanical ventilator.
Lung health is so critical during this pandemic, says Dr. McEwen. Anything that improves your lungs and overall health improves your chance of fighting off this disease.”
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