Breathe Better: Simple Exercises to Improve Your Airway Health
Updated: Nov 20
Airway health is vital for overall well-being. Research shows regular physical exercise can help maintain lung capacity, prevent respiratory diseases, and improve airway health. Several simple exercises can help you maintain and improve your airway health.
Understanding Airway Health
Before delving into the exercises, it’s essential to understand what constitutes airway health. The airways consist of the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. They include your nose, mouth, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), windpipe (trachea), and lungs.
Keeping these pathways healthy ensures proper airflow, oxygen supply, and carbon dioxide removal, crucial for maintaining our overall health. Ailments like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and bronchitis are typical examples of conditions that can compromise your airway health.
The health of your airway is pivotal to ensuring proper oxygen supply to the body and maintaining healthy brain function.
Two Simple Exercises for Better Airway Health
● Diaphragmatic (Belly) Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing is a foundational practice for better airway health. As the name implies, this method involves breathing deeply into your lungs by flexing your diaphragm rather than using your chest.
How to do it:
● Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
● Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
● Take a slow, deep breath through your nose, allowing your belly to push against your hand.
● Your chest should not move.
● Exhale through pursed lips as if you are whistling.
● Feel the hand on your abdomen go in, and use it to push all the air out.
● Do this 3-10 times per session, several times daily.
● Pursed Lip Breathing
Pursed lip breathing is another simple exercise that can slow your breathing down and keep your airways open longer. This technique increases the amount of oxygen that goes into your lungs.
How to do it:
● Relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
● Breathe in slowly through your nose for two counts, keeping your mouth closed.
● Pucker or “purse” your lips like you are about to whistle.
● Breathe out (exhale) slowly and gently through your pursed lips for a count of four.
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