2. Exercise regularly, in moderation
With regular exercise, the body’s cardio-respiratory system works efficiently to transport oxygen to the muscles and tissues, providing overall strength and improving energy. Lung capacity does not necessarily improve, but a healthy level of fitness may reduce the amount of work the lungs have to do.
The lungs’ most important job is to absorb oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide, an essential part of life. “Plus, every drop of blood must flow through the lungs,” Peters says. “If one is damaged, the capacity of the heart to pump blood is reduced, no matter how strong the heart is.”
Peters recommends 30 to 45 minutes of exercise, three to five times a week.
3. Complete the Lung Health Checklist
As lung problems are difficult to diagnose, the ALF recommends completing the lung health checklist.
+ Have a new, persistent or changed cough?
+ Cough up mucus, phlegm or blood?
+ Get out of breath more easily than others your age?
+ Experience chest tightness or wheeze?
+ Have frequent chest infections?
+ Experience fatigue or sudden weight loss?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, your lung health could be at risk. See your doctor with any concerns. You can find the checklist at www.lungfoundation.com.au