Breathing is the most fundamental activity of humans, yet not many of us pay close attention to how we breathe. Our lungs are responsible for supplying life-giving oxygen to our bodies and are also responsible for expelling toxic gases like carbon dioxide. Many factors can affect the health of our lung strengthening exercises, like pollution, smoking, and respiratory infections. However, certain exercises can help improve your lung health and give you an overall sense of wellbeing. In this article, we will discuss the top techniques you can use to improve your breathing and keep your lungs healthy.

1. Diaphragmatic breathing – The diaphragm is the main muscle used for breathing. It is a dome-shaped muscle that sits below the lungs and can move up and down. When you inhale, your diaphragm moves down, giving your lungs space to expand and gather in oxygen. To do diaphragmatic breathing, lie on your back with your knees bent. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Breathe in deeply, feeling your stomach rise as you inhale. Then, breathe out slowly, feeling your stomach lower as you exhale. Practice this technique for 5-10 minutes each day.

2. Pursed-lip breathing – This technique is useful for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma. Pursed-lip breathing helps to keep the airways open for longer by slowing down your breathing. To do this technique, inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through pursed lips, as if you were whistling. Imagine you’re blowing up a balloon, but only use your lips. Practice this technique for 5 minutes each day.

3. Breathing exercises with a straw – Using a straw during breathing exercises can help improve your lung function by strengthening your diaphragm and increasing your lung capacity. To do this exercise, take a deep breath through your nose and slowly exhale through a straw for as long as possible. As you exhale, imagine you’re blowing out birthday candles or trying to make bubbles in a glass of water. Repeat this exercise for 5-10 minutes each day.

4. Interval training – High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has many benefits for the body, including improving lung function. Short bursts of intense exercise followed by recovery periods can help increase your lung capacity and oxygen efficiency. Start by warming up for 5 minutes with light jogging or cycling. Then, sprint for 30 seconds at maximum effort, followed by a 30-second recovery period. Repeat this for 10-15 minutes, then cool down with 5 minutes of light exercise.

5. Yoga – Many yoga poses involve deep breathing and can help improve lung function. The practice of pranayama, or breath control, is a staple of yoga and has been found to reduce stress and improve lung health. Some poses to incorporate into your practice include the downward dog pose, warrior pose, and fish pose. Aim to practice yoga for 30-60 minutes, 3-4 times per week.

Maintaining healthy lungs is essential to overall wellbeing. By incorporating breathing exercises like diaphragmatic breathing, pursed-lip breathing, and breathing exercises with a straw, you can strengthen your lungs and increase your breathing capacity. Interval training and yoga also have many benefits for lung health and can be incorporated into a regular exercise routine. Make sure to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have a respiratory condition.