Take a deep breath in, hold it and then exhale. Now think about how life would be if the natural and involuntary experience of breathing became interrupted or challenged – everything would change.
We often take our lungs and their life giving function for granted beauties, which is why I wanted to breathe some vital information into your life with these healthy lung tips.
1. Kick Butt(s)
Well let’s start with obvious – if you smoke, stop. Smoking is undoubtedly the worst thing you can do for your lungs. There’s no safe zone when it comes to smoking either, so think beyond cigarettes ladies. Cigars, marijuana and even that occasional hookah session can cause significant damage to your lungs.
Hands down, the more you smoke, the greater your risk of lung cancer and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is. And don’t think your safe just because you don’t light up on a regular – secondhand smoke and even thirdhand smoke (just being in a space where someone has smoked) is harmful too.
2. Join The Lung Force
The second and super critical step in protecting your health is to get educated about lung cancer. “Despite being the #1 cancer killer of women (that’s right – before breast cancer), only one percent of women cite lung cancer as a women’s cancer that is top-of-mind for them (American Lung Association).” And if that is not shocking enough, approximately two-thirds of lung cancer diagnoses are in women who have never smoked or formerly smoked.
The judgement and education around this disease has to change, and it is thanks to the joined forces of the American Lung Association and CVS Health. Via their national initiative Lung Force, you can help empower patients and healthcare providers dealing with this viscous disease, and most importantly you can help raise raise critical funds for lung cancer research. Let’s do our party beauties because an estimated 71,000 (or more) American women will lose their lives to lung cancer in 2015 alone. Our voice, time and donations matter so visit LungForce.org or stop by your local CVS Health store to make as little as a $1 donation at check-out.
3. Fight For Clean Air
While we join the “teal army” (the official color of the Lung Force), let’s also join the fight for clean air. While U.S. air is cleaner than it was back in the day, more than 154 million Americans still live in areas where air pollution is a threat to health, according to the ALA’s annual State of the Air report. Air pollution not only increases the risk of COPD and asthma it kills people. Breathing isn’t optional beauties, so understand that you can make a difference by supporting clean air laws.
4. Safe Proof The Products You Use
Many things in our homes can even be hazardous to our lungs. Things to avoid should be oil-based paints (which release volatile organic compounds – VOCs) and cleaning products that can also contain VOCs, ammonia, and bleach. So be sure to read labels before you buy. Even certain candles and air fresheners aren’t such a fresh idea. However the main gas to watch our for is radon.
This naturally occurring radioactive gas is produced by the breakdown of uranium in the ground, so it often times leaks into a house through cracks in the foundation and walls. Why worry about this? Well because radon is the main cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, and the second-leading cause of the disease after smoking. So get your home tested. There are no known safe levels of radon, so the lower, the better.
5. The Little Things You Can Do For Your Lungs
If you want to start showing your lungs more live right this second there are several things you can do. By cutting your electricity use, choosing to commute by bike or foot as opposed to driving, and avoid burning wood or trash can all make a significant difference in the quality of the air we breathe. Speaking of breathing you can exercise and increase the strength of your lungs simply by exercising more. The better your cardiorespiratory fitness is the easier it is for your lungs to keep your heart and muscles supplied with oxygen. T
hen post sweat, be sure to refuel with antioxidant-rich foods, which by the way have evidence of being good for your lungs. In fact a 2010 study found that people who consumed the most cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, kale, and more) had almost half the risk of lung cancer compared to those who consumed the least.
Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a professional FitGirl, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more fun health and fitness tips!