While many people are concerned about physical fitness and maintaining a healthy weight, the notion of respiratory fitness sometimes doesn’t come up on the radar. However, proper lung health is essential in order to maintain a healthy body—how else are you going to sprint up that hill or lift that weight if you can’t breathe properly? This Week’s blog post celebrates Respiratory Care Week by sharing ways to manage bronchitis, which exercises improve lung health, and how to train throughout cold and flu season. Grab your scarf and get ready to breathe freely this fall!

Can a daily workout help you beat bronchitis?

Bronchitis—inflammation of the bronchial tubes, i.e. the air passages between the nose and lungs—can be a serious drag when dry autumn winds come around. However, with a few lifestyle changes, you can breathe easier. Regular exercise can help decrease anxiety about breathlessness, reduce fatigue, and improve breath control—all of which help manage chronic bronchitis. Pursed lip breathing exercises can also improve breath control by slowing down the breath and increasing intake of air. And home remedies such as humidifiers and eucalyptus oil are also linked with reducing bronchitis symptoms. Take our daily quiz for more information on managing bronchitis and improving respiratory care.

Improve athletic performance with these exercises

You might be exercising to improve muscular efficiency, but did you know you can exercise to improve lung efficiency? For instance, interval training can increase VO2 max—the lungs’ ability to use oxygen efficiently—by 15%, according to a study. Consistent aerobic exercise helps to strengthen the diaphragm, which is responsible for doing 80% of the work needed to inhale. And yoga poses such as bridge and cat-cow can open the muscles at the front of the chest—allowing for a greater intake of air. For more lung-friendly exercises and workout tips for respiratory care, take our daily quiz.

Is it safe to keep training with a cold?

Well, that depends on where your symptoms are located. The general rule of thumb is that running with a mild cold is safe, as long as symptoms are “above the neck,” i.e. runny nose, sneezing, and irritated throat. When cold symptoms include chest coughs, you could be putting your lung health at risk. In fact, vigorously exercising with a chest cold can turn a short-lived bug into a longer-term upper respiratory infection. Stay lung healthy this cold/flu season by waiting a full day after “below the neck” symptoms have disappeared to begin training again. And if you are training though a mild cold, be sure to go at recovery pace and get lots of rest afterwards. Take our daily quiz to learn more about keeping your lungs healthy as you train during cold/flu season.


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