Keep moving for healthy lungs this autumn
Today is World Day for Physical Activity and the Institute for Respiratory Health is calling on the local community to keep active regardless of the season.
“Keeping active in the autumn and winter months can be much harder but short bursts of exercise can support your immune system and boost your lung power,” Professor Yuben Moodley from the Institute said.
“Whether you’re healthy or have a lung condition, regular exercise is good for your lungs because it increases the strength of the muscles around your lungs and the rest of your body and ultimately means you will breathe more efficiently while moving.
“There are many other benefits – it can help to lower your stress levels, which can be a trigger for lung conditions like asthma, it can improve your immune system and help you to beat colds and flu, it can also reduce anxiety and depression,” Professor Moodley said.
The Institute for Respiratory Health recommends focusing on indoor activities in the colder months like going to the gym, joining a yoga or Pilates class or exercising from home. If you have a lung condition you can look at pulmonary rehabilitation classes.
National guidelines recommend that adults get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week.
“It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes five days a week. You can mix it up as long as you are engaging in 150 minutes of exercise a week. It can be 20 minutes every day instead,” Professor Moodley said.
“If you have a lung condition, any activity is better than none.
“Often the problem is finding the time to exercise and in the colder seasons, it’s more tempting to stay in and check your social media with a cup of cocoa than exercise.
“But if you replace the social media activity with 30 minutes of exercise it will have a positive impact on your wellbeing and your lungs in the long run.”
The Institute recommends both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities for healthy lungs. Aerobic activities like walking briskly, dancing, housework, gardening and rigorous housework.
Muscle-strengthening activities like weight-lifting or Pilates build core strength, improve posture and tone your breathing muscles. Breathing exercises can strengthen your diaphragm and train your body to breathe more deeply and effectively.