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4 tips for keeping your lungs healthy — for life

Without having to even think about it, the average person takes up to 20,000 resting breaths per day. In just one minute, most people breathe in 13 pints of air. Your busy lungs are taking in oxygen for your body and getting rid of harmful carbon dioxide every second of the day. The lungs team up with the airways, blood vessels and muscles to keep your body going strong. Here are four ways to keep these important organs performing at their best.

Keep germs away every day

As the world has learned in recent months, respiratory infections can have a devastating effect on the lungs. Since we can’t see germs, it is important to always take steps to prevent infection. The first line of defense is washing your hands frequently, especially before eating. Avoid crowds when possible and practice social distancing. Wear a mask in public to protect yourself as well as others. Check with your doctor to stay up to date with vaccinations including flu vaccines.

Be very aware of the air

Pollutants in the air can damage your lungs and accelerate aging. Young people have stronger lungs that resist toxins. But as we age, this resistance is weakened. To protect your lungs when you are outdoors, avoid exercising or walking near heavy traffic. Stay indoors when possible during peak pollution times.

One might imagine that outdoor pollution is the main issue, but the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that indoor pollution is often worse than outdoor. Protecting your lungs indoors involves dusting and vacuuming at least once a week to control pet dander, mold and dust. Avoid using synthetic candles or air fresheners that have chemicals in them. When painting or using strong cleaners, open a window so fumes can escape. Use natural cleaning products as much as possible. Use exhaust fans when cooking or open a window for fresh air.

Breathe deep and long to keep lungs strong

Most of the time, people take shallow breaths throughout the day and use just a small area of the lungs. Not only does this reduce the efficiency of your lungs, it also does not completely clear your lungs for a full exchange of oxygen. Deep breathing periodically helps keep the lungs healthy. To take a deep breath, breathe in slowly through your nose counting to four. Then exhale through your mouth slowly, counting to eight. These exercises are also relaxing and can decrease stress.

Another way to keep your lungs in shape is to exercise. During exercise, breathing rate goes from 15 breaths per minute to 40 or even higher. The muscles between your ribs expand and contract to move air in and out gain strength allowing the lungs to become more efficient.

Smoke-free is the only way to be

Smoking damages lungs. If you smoke, take steps to stop. If people around you smoke, ask them to move away. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals like nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar that will damage your lungs. Do everything possible to avoid cigarette smoke.

Caring for your lungs during times of recovery

When you are recovering from surgery or a medical event, it can be difficult to think about keeping your lungs healthy. Simply taking a deep breath to clear your lungs can be challenging. However, respiratory issues can quickly develop during recovery if steps are not taken to keep the lungs clear and functioning. Patients who already have lung conditions need even more focused care.

When it is time for expert pulmonary care, consider Glenview Terrace, where the focus is always to help get you back to the independent lifestyle you desire. Under the direction of a board-certified pulmonologist, each guest is provided with a comprehensive plan tailored to meet individual needs. Respiratory therapy is provided seven days a week, and education is provided to help each guest understand their condition and effectively use oxygen therapy. Focusing on healthcare excellence and safety, Glenview Terrace provides the latest infection-control precautions, including routine COVID-19 testing and monitoring. Glenview Terrace is also ranked among the top 1% of all post-hospital rehabilitation and nursing care centers in Illinois by Newsweek magazine.

For additional information or to arrange a personalized virtual tour, visit or call 847-729-9090.