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The trick to life is to just keep breathing. – Johnny Lung

Since the coronavirus, or COVID19 is a respiratory illness, let’s get our lungs working the best we possibly can. Here are some simple ways to improve your lungs.

A. Diaphragmatic breathing, or “belly breathing,” engages the diaphragm.

  1. Relax your shoulders and sit back or lie down.

  2. Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.

  3. Inhale through your nose for two seconds, feeling the air move into your abdomen and feeling your stomach move out. Your stomach should move more than your chest does.

  4. Breathe out for two seconds while pressing on your abdomen.

  5. Repeat. This may take some getting used to, but keep at it and soon it will be second nature.

B.  Pursed-lips breathing can slow down your breathing, reducing the work of breathing by keeping your airways open longer. This makes it easier for the lungs to function and improves the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

This breathing exercise is often easier for beginners than diaphragmatic breathing, and you can do it at home even if no one has showed you how. It can be practiced at any time.

To practice the pursed-lips breathing technique:

  1. Inhale slowly through your nostrils.

  2. Purse your lips, as if pouting or about to blow on something.

  3. Breathe out as slowly as possible through pursed lips. This should take at least twice as long as it did to breathe in.

  4. Repeat.

C. Rib Stretch does exactly what it says, stretching or expanding the ribs, which helps your lungs take in as much air as possible. This lung exercise requires you to be in a standing, upright position with your hands on your hips. Slowly inhale air until your lungs fill to capacity. Hold your breath for 20 seconds or for however long is comfortable and then exhale slowly. Relax and then repeat three more times. When done on a regular basis, rib stretches help you take more air into your lungs and exhale fully so stale air doesn’t build up in the lungs.

D. Laughing and Singing or any activity that works the abdominal muscles also works the lungs. Both laughing and singing do just that. Laughing not only increases your lung capacity but also forces stale air out of the lungs so more fresh air can enter. Likewise, singing works the diaphragm muscle, which also helps increase lung capacity.

E. Increase Your 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.