Human life is sustained by a healthy heart and healthy lung function; our lungs like our heart are expected to function continuously for the full term of our lives. They run on automatic and we don’t pay them much mind, they are subjected to abuse and endless misuse, very often exposed to pollutants, pollution and many health compromising lifestyle choices. There is a growing awareness of the significance of lung health; our lungs primary function is to facilitate the uptake of oxygen to red blood cells in our blood. The red blood cells transport oxygen through our body’s vascular network, the lungs remove CO 2 and expel it as we breathe out.
Our lungs have many other functions, they can act as shock absorbing airbags during impacts falls and collisions, a front line of defence to resist airborne infection, mucociliary clearance a process that traps dust particles and bacteria and facilitates the discharge through coughing, sneezing and spitting of these undesirables.
They support pH balance by controlling carbon dioxide that may raise acidity levels in the event of excessively high CO 2 build up; our lungs also function as a reservoir of blood.
It is clear just how important our lung health and function is to life itself, this growing awareness extends to various lung breathing exercises of which there are a number; one in particular appears to be fit for purpose that being the 4-4-4-4 box breathing method; which takes around 4-5 minutes 4 times a day as and when it fits your daily routine.
Sit down (back support may help some) clear your lungs and relax, breathe in deeply through your nose to the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 4, then breath out to the count of 4 offering resistance by partially closing your lips, relax to the count of 4, then repeat the process by breathing in to the count of 4 etcetera.
You may vary the speed and time of the 4 count to suit your own personal results; this exercise may result in dizziness or a feeling of light headedness, so relax after completing a few minutes of this breathing exercise.
Breathing exercises like the one described may help one cope with the turmoil of the day, anxiety, depression which tends to build up through the day affecting overall wellbeing and sleep patterns.