With age, our bodies may begin to slow down and some of our natural functions may also deteriorate. Our bodies will undergo many changes throughout our lifetime and although it may seem many of these changes are inevitable, they are at least within our control. In fact, proper care and practices can allow you to live a longer and healthier life while slowing down may negative side effects. It is important to care for your body and keep it strong and well oiled especially during times like these. There are exercises and nutrients to help keep our bones strong, memory games to keep our minds sharp, and even practices to help keep your respiratory system healthy.
Our lungs play two very important roles for our bodies such as allowing oxygen in and keeping carbon dioxide out. Our lungs work constantly to provide us with the ability to breathe without any hesitation. Overtime, our lungs will may be negatively affected due to various reasons including the aging process. Some of the changes that come with aging to our respiratory system include: chest wall and thoracic spine deformities, lung parenchyma, weakening of muscle strength, weakening of lung functions, alveolar dead space increasing, receptors changing, and decreased sensation of dyspnea.
Lungs are made up of tiny tissues equipped with bands of muscle surrounding the airways, allowing them to stay clear and open. Air continuously flows throughout the lungs to fill up small air sacs which our blood then filters through these air sacs and blood vessels to deliver oxygen to the bloodstream. Once these blood vessels and air sacs meet, carbon dioxide will cross over and exit the body. Overtime our bones will weaken and become thin, this can result in a change to the shape of our ribcage. These changes can result in trouble of the ribcage with expanding and contracting properly for breathing. The result is trouble with breathing, shortness of breath, and Fatigue.
As our nervous system and immune system also begin to weaken, the body may have a particularly hard time fighting off lung infections as well. This can put the body at risk for pneumonia, bronchitis, low oxygen levels, infections and even trouble sleeping. Taking care of your lungs and keeping them healthy is of the utmost importances and certain practices you can engage in to do so are;
- avoid smoke/second hand smoke
- consume foods rich in antioxidants
- exercise consistently
- breathing meditations
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