6 Ways Exercise Helps You Breathe Better

Oxygen is the single most important substance that we take into our body.

Our cells need oxygen to generate energy to transport nutrients, break down toxins, regulate the pH of body chemistry and fight hostile organisms. Getting regular exercise is one of the best ways to improve your flow and support overall health.

Exercise has a variety of benefits, but here are the ways in which it can help you breathe better.

  1. It improves your access to oxygen. Improving the oxygen concentration in your environment may help your oxygen intake. If you’re able to exercise outdoors, it can help you increase your access to oxygen. Just be sure to avoid prolonged outside activities on “bad air” days.
  2. It opens up the pulmonary tree. Deep breathing exercises and aerobic exercise may help improve your lung capacity and help your pulmonary tree function. Another important factor is to avoid smoking. Cigarette smoking can narrow the air passages, make breathing more difficult and raise your risk for lung cancer and other disease.
  3. It helps maintain a healthy fluid balance. Maintaining an appropriate level of hydration is an important part of good health. It is suggested that the average person loses about 10 cups of water every day, which should be replaced through drink or foods that have high water content. Because thirst is a sign of a fluid deficit, drinking before you are thirsty can help you stay hydrated, especially when you exercise.
  4. It strengthens your heart. Your body depends on the heart’s pumping action to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the body’s cells. Aerobic exercise, such as walking and cycling, uses oxygen to fuel the muscles and strengthens your heart by teaching it how to take an increasing demand.
  5. It can help lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. If you have high blood pressure, regular exercise may help you regulate your blood pressure.
  6. It feeds your cells. Our cells are happier when they are free of infection. Preventing infection and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels are some basic ways to keep the cells happy. Regular exercise can play a part in keeping cells healthy by supporting your immune system and blood sugar levels. This may help your cells function to improve oxygen flow.

Starting Your Exercise Plan

With warmer weather ahead, Rick Black, PT, DPT, MS, corporate rehabilitation director, ProMedica, says that now is a great time to start an exercise program and reap the benefits of better oxygen intake.

“The best exercise is the one you’ll do. Start with something simple like walking and find activities that you enjoy doing,” Mr. Black advises. “If you’re not exercising regularly, make sure to speak with your doctor before starting your exercise program.”

Mr. Black also recommends finding a workout partner and writing down your exercise goals and activity. Tracking your movement will help you see and celebrate your progress.

Learn more about pulmonary care through ProMedica Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation at promedicaskillednursing.org.