Indoor air quality becomes especially important in winter—with fall winds chilling the air these past few weeks, you might find yourself huddling indoors with the heat turned up. While staying in can help keep you toasty, that dry, stale air might not be so friendly on your respiratory system. That’s why This Week’s blog post takes a look at how expectorants can improve respiratory health, clearing the air with purifying houseplants, and exercises that will help you breathe deep.

Can coughing help you get healthy?

In the case of expectorants, yes! Expectorants—an ingredient in many cold medicines that induces coughing—are intended to help loosen mucus and move it out of the lungs/sinuses and are commonly during cold and flu season. However, common side effects of expectorants that are ingested are drowsiness and stomach cramps. So if you’re looking for an alternative, try direct expectorants, which are inhaled through steamed water. Just be sure to store expectorants in cool, dry places such as dresser drawers instead of bathrooms—as they can lose efficacy in warm, humid environments. For more info on how expectorants can help bring you relief, take our daily quiz.

Can cleaning your house make you sick?

While a good house cleaning is necessary to clear the home of lung irritants such as dust, mold, and pet dander, it’s possible that your cleaning products could impact indoor air quality, adversely affecting your respiratory health. For instance, scented cleaning products often contain terpenes—which when mixed with airborne ozone can create formaldehyde. Terpenes are even found in “green” cleaning products—so it’s best to opt for unscented products whenever possible. Making your own cleaning solution at home with vinegar and baking soda is an even better—and more cost effective—option. For more tips on keeping healthy indoor air quality while you clean, take our daily quiz.

Which indoor workout can help tone your tummy and teach you breath control?

While almost any exercise increases cardio and respiratory fitness, Pilates is especially great for helping you breathe deep, given its emphasis on diaphragm strengthening and breath control. Exercises such as The Hundred have you engage the core while doing 10 cycles of inhaling for five breaths and exhaling for five breaths—improving breath control, which is linked with reducing anxiety. Pilates exercises also focus on engaging the core and strengthening the diaphragm, which can help you breathe more efficiently. Plus there’s no fancy equipment needed to a do mat-based Pilates workout—so it can be done conveniently at home. For more mat-based Pilates exercise tips, take our daily quiz.


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