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December 08, 2018 2 min read

When you think of being fit and healthy, you probably think of your muscles, your weight, or maybe even your heart.  But did you know that
healthy lungs are directly related to a long and healthy life?  Studies show that the health of your lungs and their overall oxygen capacity are major factors in determining lifespan.

Want to know your lung capacity?  There are medical tests that can be done, but the easiest way to tell if your lungs are working properly is to exert yourself a bit.  Do you get winded climbing stairs?  Does blowing up a balloon make you feel out of breath? Does your breathing become uncomfortable when walking briskly?  If so, you need to work to strengthen your lungs.

While genetics and disease can influence the health of your lungs, there are many ways to increase your oxygen capacity, build lung strength, and make your lungs work harder and smarter for your body.  The first and foremost way to healthy lungs – don’t smoke!  We all know how bad smoking is for your overall health, your skin, your body tissues, and especially your lungs.  Always protect your lungs from hazards in the air, which takes just a little common sense.  Avoid polluted air, wear a mask if exposed to any fumes, and only work with chemicals in well-ventilated areas.

Exercise is the best way to increase lung capacity and strength.  In addition to your regular fitness routine, strive to work your lungs at least 2-3 times per week.  Do a high-intensity workout, such as sprints, for several minutes, then rest for 60 seconds.  Repeat several times, making sure to breathe deeply during the rest periods.  Swimming is also an excellent workout for building your lungs; try to see how long you can hold your breath while swimming underwater and try to increase the amount of time with each session.  Yoga and meditation are also helpful: even though you aren’t pushing the limits of your lungs, the deep and steady breathing are very beneficial and can help to increase your lung capacity over time.

As your stamina increases, you will notice a difference in your breathing.  You will be able to do more, for longer periods of time, without feeling tired or out of breath.  Work your muscles, get your blood pumping, and enjoy the benefits of strong lungs!