2 Important Tips for Maintaining Healthy Lungs as We Age

Enjoying your Golden Years to the full means taking great care of yourself, from eating a healthy diet and having regular check-ups with your health specialists to getting enough exercise. As we age, our lungs start weakening and becoming less flexible, which can quickly compromise health and daily life. Here are a couple of tips for keeping your lungs healthy and strong, from our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey, in honor of National Senior Health Fitness Day (May 27).

Why Lung Health Changes as We Age 

From about the age of 35, our lung capacity and health can begin to decline even if we don’t suffer from lung disease. This is because the structures around the lungs, such as the muscles and cardiovascular system can become weaker, rather than the lungs themselves developing issues. Common examples of this include a weakening of the diaphragm, weakening of the ribcage bones and muscles, and even a weakened immune system. 

Of course, lung health itself can become compromised by health conditions like asthma and cancer. So, it’s important to take a two-pronged approach to lung health by combining exercise with lifestyle choices that reduce health risks.

Avoid Health Risks to Your Lungs

Lung health conditions are the third leading cause of death in the USA, with conditions like lung cancer, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease resulting in 235,000 deaths each year. Steps you can take to prevent these conditions and improve your lung health include:

  • Give up smoking. There are many practical and effective programs that your doctor can direct you to for assistance in quitting this dangerous habit.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke and air pollution.
  • Wear a safety mask when dealing with harmful fumes and contaminants like home cleaning chemicals, oven cleaner, weed killers and fungicides, ash, and the like.
  • Prevent infections by ensuring vaccines and flu shots are up-to-date, practice good hygiene (especially the frequent washing of hands and the use of hand sanitizer), and practice social distancing in the flu season.

Boost Your Lung Health Through Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to keep lungs fit and healthy, giving your heart and lungs a good workout. Remember to speak to your doctor to help find an exercise regime that will work for you and that won’t put you at risk of injury. Great exercises to consider include:

  • Walking. Join a local exercise group, rambling group or hiking group,
  • Swimming or water aerobics,
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Gardening

For less mobile seniors, there are still effective ways to promote your lung health through exercise, including seated exercises, yoga, and physical therapy. Many physical therapists and gyms offer programs specifically for less mobile seniors that can be tailored to your needs and ability, helping to slowly and safely build lung strength and capacity. Again, you can ask your doctor and local facilities for guidance before getting started.

Independent Living for Seniors at Our Beautiful CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey 

Bristol Glen is a CCRC and assisted living community, which is based in Sussex County. It aims to provide seniors with comfortable, serviced living options as well as rehabilitation care for seniors recovering from illness or hospitalization. And, it also offers expert memory care and support. Founded on a philosophy of ‘aging in place’, our continuing care retirement community residents enjoy a less restrictive care model where they do not have to move from their residential apartment to access additional services as their needs change.

Contact us to find out more about our CCRC and our assisted living in Sussex County, New Jersey, or visit our website at https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org/ and book your visit today.