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As we age our respiratory system shows the resulting effects, just like the rest of our body. Our lungs decrease in efficiency, bringing in less oxygen. Decreased lung function also means that when we breathe out, we gradually lose the ability to fully empty our lungs. Our respiratory muscles weaken. In healthy adults and seniors, age related changes won’t necessarily cause symptoms but for some, changes in the lungs add to other symptoms that may be present due to disease.

There are some ways to help improve your respiratory health, including:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight. The more you weigh, the harder your lungs have to work. Excess weight compresses the respiratory muscles so they work less efficiently. Watch your diet, stick to healthy meals and try to stay in shape. Your respiratory system will thank you for it.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking causes inflammation and can cause death of the cells. Eventually this can lead to chronic bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer. Speak with your healthcare provider about aids to quit smoking.
  • Drink more water. Dehydration causes mucus in your body to thicken. This slows down your respiratory rate and can help you to become ill more easily. By staying hydrated it will be easier for you to maintain a healthy weight while also thinning mucus. This clears your lungs and your airway.
  • Become aware of your breathing. Many of us don’t pay attention to the way we breathe. Instead of breathing deeply we tend to take short breaths. Often, we don’t completely empty our lungs when we breathe out. Read about yoga breathing techniques. Breathing properly can help to strengthen your lungs, resulting in more oxygen throughout your body. Eventually it can increase the capacity of your lungs.







To read more on respiratory health awareness for seniors and caregivers, click here.