Spring has sprung, and the weather is changing. Now is the time when a lot of athletes of all abilities start thinking more seriously about their summer fitness plans. But before you jump into a strenuous training routine, are your lungs up for the challenge?
Although it may take time and dedication to reach your fitness goals by Memorial Day (the traditional kick off to the summer season), here are some tips to help you and your lungs be ready to tackle all your summer fun!
Put Some Effort into Breathing
Focused breathing helps improve the efficiency of every breath. By concentrating on the aerobic effects of breathing, the lungs work better, more oxygen is taken in, more fat is burned, and blood flow is improved. The more you work your lungs, like any other exercise, the stronger they will become.
Focus on Those Abdominals!
Your abdominals, diaphragm and intercostals work together in respiration. So why not put your mind and concentration on the muscles which are working hardest? In fact, deep breathing sculpts your abdominals, allowing them to work more effectively to improve breathing. A win-win situation!!
Increasing the heart rate with cardio workouts has always been an important aspect of improving one’s health. It is the most effective way to burn fat, strengthen your heart, and can increase your lung capacity. Another advantage of cardio workouts is the sheer number of choices, making cardio perfect for any athlete, and it doesn’t require a huge time commitment. It is all about how HARD you work, not how LONG you work! Aerobics at home or the gym, stationary bikes and water workouts are a good way to get ready for summer activities, even when it still looks like winter outside!
Improve Your Air Quality
The EPA has reported that the air quality indoors can be as much as 5 times worse than outside air. With many humans spending 90% of their time indoors, we are constantly exposed to concentrations of air pollution! Outside of controlling the sources of pollution, there are some steps you can take to improve the air quality in your everyday environments. Air purification systems in various sizes can make significant reductions to pollutants. Additionally, increasing the number of plants in the home and office can increase oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide naturally. They also make your home look good!
Adopt a Lung-Friendly Diet
As the weather warms up, you will find more fruits and vegetables available. Foods such as garlic (with high levels of allicin for reducing blood pressure) and spinach (high levels of phytochemicals for reducing inflammation), apples (with high levels of antioxidants) and fatty fish for omega-3 fatty acids, are all well-known for multiple health benefits. Vitamin D has been proven to be a crucial part of healthy lungs; a deficiency of this important vitamin has been associated with respiratory weakness, poor lung function, and other lung conditions. Increase your Vitamin D consumption through diet or supplementation to provide your lungs with extra “armor.”
An Ounce of Prevention
Treat your lungs with care…you only have one set in life! Don’t smoke—it increases a long list of health risks, even when done infrequently.
Improve Your Posture
Poor posture, whether slouching over a desk or steering wheel, compresses the chest cavity, reducing your lungs’ ability to expand to their maximum size. Stretch your shoulder blades back periodically when you are still for long periods of time and lean back in your chair to open up the chest cavity.
For those wanting to jump-start spring training, consider adding the PowerLung device to your regimen. In only 10 minutes a day, you can concentrate on improving your lung function along with your regular fitness routine. The small size of the PowerLung device means you can take it anywhere, allowing you to fit a short lung training routine any time of day or night.