In the normal course of aging, your lungs become less efficient. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but the truth is, changes take place that make your lungs work harder, while at the same time your capacity for taking in oxygen slows down.
Why does this happen? When you are young, your body continually renews the cells lining your lungs. This helps you exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide efficiently. When you age, this renewal process starts to slow down and the lungs can start to scar. Eventually, the damage becomes significant enough that breathing becomes labored.
You can do a quick check on your lung health yourself by walking up a few flights of stairs. Take stock of your breathing. Are you out of breath? If so, your lungs may be suffering from age-related changes and not operating at their best.
Other changes that can happen to older lungs include weakened muscles. Your lungs contain muscle tissue that’s partially responsible for keeping your airways open. When these muscles are healthy and strong, you get a clear pathway for the intake of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide. When lung muscles lose their elasticity, your airways no longer stay completely open. Respiratory problems can set in and asthma-type symptoms may show up.
But don’t despair—you don’t have to accept this decline in lung function. Researchers have discovered that doing a little yoga could help stave off asthma, which means it can also help people with age-related breathing problems.
A study was conducted to compare pulmonary function and lung capacity in 60 patients with bronchial asthma. Thirty of the asthmatic patients were assigned to a yoga training group. The other patients were put in a control group. The research team recorded the lung function of all the participants at the outset of the study and then again after two months.
The researchers found that the participants in the yoga group were significantly better able to transfer air in and out of the lungs. As an added bonus, the yoga group also reported higher quality of life.
Yoga is a great exercise to increase your respiratory stamina and protect against age-related loss of lung function. Try this easy exercise to start feeling better today.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Singh, S., et al., “Effect of yoga practices on pulmonary function tests including transfer factor of lung for carbon monoxide (TLCO) in asthma patients,” Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. January-March 2012; 56(1): 63-8.