Breathing Easier on World Lung Day

By Dr. Vivek Kumar Verma in Pulmonology

Sep 22 , 2023 | 2 min read

September 25th marks a global celebration that draws our attention to something we may take for granted- our lungs. World Lung Day reminds us of the critical role our lungs play in keeping us alive and well. The event urges us to prioritize our lung health and raise awareness about the importance of clean air and healthy lungs.

Understanding the Importance of World Lung Day

World Lung Day is a platform that sheds light on lung diseases, the impact of pollution on respiratory health, and the need for effective strategies to prevent and manage these conditions. The day brings together healthcare professionals, organizations, and individuals to advocate for lung health, focusing on issues like air quality, tobacco control, and access to healthcare services.

Lung Function Across Ages

Lung function is a dynamic process that evolves as we age. Our lungs are still developing as children, and they continue to grow and mature through adolescence. As we transition into adulthood, lung growth slows down, and peak lung function usually reaches mid-20s. However, maintaining lung health becomes increasingly important as we grow older, as a decrease in lung function is a natural part of ageing, coupled with constant environmental and lifestyle habits that can also cause a decline in our lung functions. Incorporating breathing exercises from a young age can help build lung capacity and stay healthier in the long run.

Meditation and Lung Health

One of the most effective ways of caring for lung health is through breathing exercises. Meditation can have a positive impact on lung health, and deep, mindful breathing techniques associated with meditation have been shown to:

  • Improve lung capacity.
  • Increase oxygen intake.
  • Enhance respiratory efficiency.
  • Reduce Stress: Meditation's stress-reducing effects can contribute to better overall lung health, as chronic stress has been linked to various respiratory issues.

Tips to Breathe Better

Now that we know what the day is about and how it affects us, let's discuss some tips to improve lung health:

  • Stay active: Regular physical activity keeps your lungs strong and improves respiratory function.
  • Maintain good posture: Proper posture encourages optimal lung expansion, helping you breathe more efficiently.
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking damages lung tissue (could be permanent) and significantly impairs lung function. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your lungs.
  • Practice diaphragmatic breathing: Also known as belly breathing, this technique involves using your diaphragm to breathe deeply. It helps improve the efficiency of your lung function and reduces shallow breathing.
  • Practice other breathing exercises: Incorporate deep breathing exercises or mindfulness meditation into your routine to enhance lung capacity and reduce stress.
  • Reduce stress: Stress can increase muscle tension, making it harder to breathe. Breathing slowly and deeply allows us to relax our lungs and improve their function. Additionally, reducing stress through breathing techniques has a calming effect on the nervous system.

By making conscious choices and incorporating lung-friendly practices into our lives, we can ensure that our respiratory system serves us well for years to come.