In many parts of the country, state and local governments continue to require people to wear face masks in public to help thwart the spread of the coronavirus.
But the guidance from federal government’s health agencies about the effectiveness of masks to reduce the spread of the virus has been conflicting from the start. They initially told us that using homemade masks was completely worthless. And now, they say any mask is better than no mask at all, and that they’re critical and required in all public places.
(We are also supposed to keep at least six feet away from others. If so, that should typically keep microbes from reaching from one person to another. Remember it’s a numbers game and all their recommendations are to try to lower the chances of infections among the population as a whole, not specifically to protect you as an individual.)
Well, no matter what your stance is regarding wearing face coverings in public, there’s probably one thing we can all agree upon…
It’s hard to breathe in a mask!
And that’s a major problem. Because breathing is fundamental to human health and well-being. On the flip side, impaired breathing can increase your risk of developing any number of chronic diseases.
So, today, I’m sharing with you four simple tips that can improve your lung capacity…and, in turn, may even help extend your lifespan!
But first, let’s back up to talk about why breathing is so important…
The importance of taking deep breaths
Over the past half-million years, the human skull (including the face, nose, sinuses, jaw, and mouth) grew much smaller. In fact, according to some experts, humans are now the most “plugged up” of all the species walking the Earth…making it much harder for us to breath effectively.
But according to the famous Framingham Heart Study, which has been following Americans for 70 years now, breathing effectively is critical to longevity in humans. In fact, they say having ample lung capacity is the single-best indicator of a longer lifespan.
To me, this finding makes perfect sense. Because, as I’ve reported before, a person’s functional capacity, such as a strong gait, is also strongly associated with lifespan.
Just think about it from a biological point of view…
Each breath we take contains more molecules of air than there are grains of sand on all the beaches around the world. In other words, we inhale and exhale about 30 pounds of air each day, which is far more than what we eat and drink each day.
Of course, each breath also pushes oxygen, required by all cells in the body, into your tissues and organs—including the lungs, heart, and brain. Plus, deep, relaxed breathing helps the heart and circulatory system to relax, which can cause your blood pressure to drop by 10 to 15 points. It also allows the nervous system and other bodily systems to function more efficiently.
No wonder studies link proper breathing to a reduced risk of anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder (ADD), asthma, allergies, emphysema, chronic inflammation, and high blood pressure!
Doctors have even found controlled breathing helped restore respiratory function, where other therapies had failed, in 9/11 victims who suffered from “ground-glass lungs,” due to inhalation of debris.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to improve the quality of your breathing—starting today!
Breathe your way to a longer life
It’s actually quite simple to improve your breathing and lung capacity. Here are a few suggestions:
1.) Strive to get 2.5 hours of light-to-moderate exercise each week. As always, the best activities are ones you can do outside in Nature, such as swimming in the ocean or a lake, walking, hiking, and gardening—for the added benefits of exposure to the sun and fresh air. But be careful not to engage in excessive exercise (or what I call “excess-ercise”), as studies show it causes wear-and-tear on the lungs, heart, GI system, joints, muscles, eyes, and much more.
2.) Get some fresh air by exploring Nature. Again, I’m a big proponent of spending time in Nature. It’s good for all that ails you. And when it comes to improving lung health, I suggest seeking out places that grow blue-green, yellow, white, and even reddish lichen (what many people call “moss”). Lichen can only grow where the air quality is good, so it’s a sign the air is good to breathe. This is another reason why I often recommend “forest bathing,” too!
3.) Try to get out-of-breath during regular activities. You can increase your lung capacity at any time during the day, not just when you’re exercising. Simply push yourself when you’re doing any type of physical activity, such as climbing the stairs or bringing in the groceries, to the point where you’re just slightly out of breath. Then, slow back down again until you catch your breath. Over time, this simple trick will improve your functional lung capacity.
4.) Start practicing brief periods of conscious, controlled breathing several times a day. Eventually, these practices will start to affect your regular breathing throughout the day. Here’s how to get started:
- First, find a comfortable position, sitting or standing up, since posture is important for proper breath-taking.
- Next, try to relax your shoulders and the intercostal muscles between your ribs.
- Then, begin following your breath by simply observing your respiratory movements and becoming aware of each inhalation and exhalation.
- As your breathing deepens, try to pause for three seconds at the end of each inhalation, then exhale.
- You can also try breathing in and out through one nostril, while holding the other one closed with your finger. Then, reverse nostrils and resume. You can also inhale through one nostril and exhale through the other.
Using these simple breathing techniques in your daily life will, without doubt, help extend your lifespan, as the Framingham Study suggests. And—as an added bonus, they will also help reduce your stress. (Something we could all use help with these days!)
You can learn more about the natural ways to support respiratory health in my brand-new, online protocol, Breathe Better Lung Health Protocol. To learn more about this comprehensive learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now.
“The Healing Power of Proper Breathing.” Wall Street Journal, 5/21/20 (wsj.com/articles/the-healing-power-of-proper-breathing-11590098696?mod=e2fb&fbclid=IwAR23O7oZ9T9tVNPCelHtY-sCYznBgTkif74E_sjlD50tnloLrlILcFI4fbE)