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Tired? 4 Easy Ways To Boost Lung Health and Get Your Energy Back

Put the pep back in your step.


It’s normal to feel tired. Days are long and to-do lists can seem never-ending. But if you’re experiencing exhaustion that even your third cup of coffee can’t fix, the source of your fatigue might be beyond everyday busyness. The potential culprit? Your lungs. They keep you moving by delivering energizing oxygen to every cell in your body and blocking respiratory infections — but their strength waivers as we age. Luckily, there are things you can do to help keep them strong. Keep reading to learn more about lung health and how to boost it.

Lungs and Aging

Our bodies change as we age, and lungs are no exception to that rule. Lung function naturally weakens gradually after we reach the age of 35, according to The American Lung Association. And if you live in a place with air pollution — and 99 percent of the global population does, according to 2019 data from the World Health Organization — you need to be extra aware of your respiratory health. A study published in Respiratory Research found exposure to air pollution may expedite the rate of decline. Keep reading to see things you can do to strengthen your lungs.

Breathe minty steam.

Inhaling warm, moist air opens airways to increase lung capacity, a study published in European Respiratory Journal suggests. To boost the benefits, add spearmint. A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that breathing in the oil may widen passageways in the lungs to improve respiration. Want to try it for yourself? Fill a large bowl with hot water, add 2 to 3 drops spearmint essential oil, then lean over the bowl and breathe in deeply for 3 to 5 minutes.

Join in on ‘Jolene.’

Sure, exercising daily strengthens respiratory muscles. But in good news for women who can’t help singing along with Dolly Parton or Shania Twain, simply raising your voice in song does the job too. A study published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research found that singing may be as good for your lungs as a brisk walk. Looks like karaoke is our new favorite workout!

Skip cleaning sprays.

As convenient as cleaners in spray bottles are, you may want to give them a rest for your lung health. Inhaling airborne chemicals from spray cleaners may increase odds of asthma and wheezing, says research in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. To ditch the danger, use liquid cleaners when possible.

Get your magnesium fill.

Lungs depend on magnesium to function correctly. That’s why a Lancet study found that a 100-milligram daily deficit of the mineral over a year may lower lung function — almost as badly as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day! To shore up your stores, eat two to three servings of magnesium-rich foods such as leafy greens, beans, nuts, or seeds daily.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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