November marks Lung Cancer Awareness Month. It all began with an awareness day in 1995 which grew into the global campaign which we see today. Lung cancer is something that many of us do not think about as it is out of sight, out of mind. Keeping your lungs healthy is achieved similarly to looking after your general health, through exercise and a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Here’s some of our tips for keeping your lungs healthy and strong:
There are plenty of different exercises that you can do to keep your lungs working at their best while simultaneously strengthening your muscles and keeping your warm.
The better your general fitness, the easier it is for your lungs to keep your heart and muscles supplied with oxygen. This does not necessarily mean you have to be going to the gym every day. Even a brisk walk or some gardening can help to break up inactivity. Read our previous post if you need some ideas suited to seniors.
Regular exercise is particularly important if you have any existing lung problems. While it may seem that exercising is aggravating your condition, after a while you will feel your lungs getting stronger. While this is the case, make sure you do not push yourself too far. If you are feeling wheezy, take a break to catch your breath. It’s important to exercise safely so consult your GP before changing your exercise routine drastically.
If you are not used to regular exercise, start very gently with arm and leg movements while you are sitting. After a few days of that, try getting out of the house more, walk around the street or to the local shop and back. You’ll soon feel less breathless and more confident to start regular exercise.
2. Stay Healthy This Season
While winter is the season to be jolly; it is also the cold and flu season. These nasty infections can cause you to wheeze and cough and can even develop into bronchitis or pneumonia if not treated quickly. If you are over 65, or have a particular medical condition, don’t forget to get your free flu vaccine and pneumococcal shot from the doctor to give you the best protection possible.
Also, take steps to reduce the chance of infection. Ensure you wash your hands regularly and use sanitising gel when you are out and about to reduce the risk of catching an infection from someone else.
If you have any existing lung conditions, make sure you get regular check ups at the doctor and keep on top of your medication/
Eat plenty of vitamin rich foods to keep your body healthy. Read our previous post for ideas on immune boosting foods to stock up on this winter.
3. Quit Smoking
This is perhaps the most obvious tip, yet people still ignore all of the warnings. While you are not guaranteed to get lung cancer from smoking, over 90% of all cases has smoking as the main cause.
You may think it’s too late to quit as perhaps you’ve smoked for years. This is not true, every cigarette makes a difference! After ten years of not smoking, you’ll reduce the risk of developing lung cancer by half. You also lessen your risk of other smoking related disease, save money and improve your sense of smell and taste. There really isn’t a down side!
Of course it’s not as simple as that. Many people find it incredibly difficult to quit. There are lots of different services now to help you to quit. For example, the NHS Smokefree website offers information, advice and inspiring success stories to help you to quit. You can also ask your GP or pharmacist for help on what you can do to start your journey to a healthier future.
Ways to get Involved with Lung Cancer Awareness Month
There are many way that you can get involved this year to help spread awareness for lung cancer:
1. Attend or host an Event
There are many events that have been organised already across the UK and globally. These include Lung Love runs/walks to on-line auctions to Zumba-thons! If there is nothing happening in your local area, why not host your own event? For help on this, visit the Lung Cancer Alliance website. You could help to raise awareness and funds to save lives and advance research!
2. Use Social Media
The Lung Cancer Alliance have compiled some fantastic posts for Facebook and Twitter for you to share. This is quick and simple yet can have a huge impact on raising awareness.
3. Send a Letter to the Newspaper
If you see yourself as a bit of a writer, why not send a letter to the editor? This section of the newspaper is dedicated to the reader and local community for you to give your opinion on any relevant news. Help to raise awareness by writing about Lung Cancer Awareness month.
People all over the globe are coming together to share their experience and raise awareness of the disease. Make sure you get involved and take our advice keep your lungs healthy and strong.