Maintaining our lung health becomes increasingly important for our overall well-being and ability to stay active. Our lungs play a critical role in our body, but as we age, they tend to become weaker and more susceptible to illness and disease. This can make maintaining your peak performance levels more challenging, ultimately affecting your athletic ability and overall health.
With insights from The Genomic Athlete and Dr. Turner, you can learn how to protect your lung health and maximize oxygen intake, ensuring you can continue to excel in your favorite sports and activities.
The Importance of Lung Health, Function, and Capacity
Every cell in your body needs oxygen to keep functioning, and your lungs supply that oxygen. As we breathe in air, our lungs provide oxygen to our body via the bloodstream, which transports it to our cells. The lungs then remove carbon dioxide, a waste product, from the body as we exhale. Without well-functioning, healthy lungs, the rest of our body would suffer, leading to a variety of health issues.
Lung capacity, or the maximum amount of air your lungs can hold, , according to the American Lung Association. This happens for a few reasons, such as the diaphragm naturally getting weaker, lung tissue losing elasticity, and the shape of the rib cage changing. This, in turn, can affect athletic performance and your VO2 Max.
VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can use during exercise, and it’s directly related to your lung capacity. Because of this, just like lung capacity tends to decrease as we age, so does our VO2 Max. However, staying active can greatly reduce the speed of this decline, which is important because your VO2 Max is a key indicator of your overall health and fitness.
Dr. Trevor Turner's Misogi Health platform uses your VO2 Max score, in conjunction with other metrics, to create customized programs that help athletes optimize their performance. With Misogi Health, older athletes can improve their overall health, including their lung capacity, helping them stay fit and healthy for years to come.
Common Lung Problems
In addition to aging, common lung diseases, conditions, and other respiratory illnesses can negatively impact lung health. These may include:
- Asthma: This is a chronic condition that affects airways and causes difficulty breathing. Though it is most commonly diagnosed in children, it's important to know that asthma can be developed at any age.
- COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, more commonly called COPD, is an umbrella term for progressive lung diseases that can make it difficult to breathe. COPD can be caused by smoking, outdoor air pollution, poor indoor air quality, and other environmental factors.
- Chronic bronchitis: This condition causes inflammation in the airways and is typically caused by smoking, exposure to chemicals, or other environmental factors.
- Emphysema: This is a lung condition that damages the air sacs in the lungs. It is typically caused by smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Lung cancer: This lung disease is one of the most common and deadly forms of cancer in the United States. Cigarette smoking is a significant risk factor for developing lung cancer, but it can also be caused by air pollution, radiation exposure, and genetics. That said, if you’re a smoker, quitting is one of the best things you can do to achieve improved lung function.
Strategies to Keep Your Lungs Healthy
No matter your age or condition, it’s important to prioritize lung health in order to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Protecting against common lung diseases and boosting your lung health is essential to ensuring your body has the oxygen it needs to perform at its peak. Here are some strategies for maintaining or increasing your lung health:
- Build your endurance: Aerobic exercises like running, biking, swimming, or playing sports can help strengthen the muscles used for respiration. By engaging in activities like these, you can build up your endurance and improve your lung capacity.
- Keep an eye on your blood oxygen levels: Your blood oxygen level, or the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood, is an important indicator of your lung health. Through our partnership with Oura, our patients have access to a ring that can track blood oxygen levels and breathing disturbances, giving them more insight into their lung health in real-time.
- Manage your overall health: In addition to , The Genomic Athlete partners with a number of leading names in the healthcare industry to help our patients monitor their overall health. Between (opens in a new tab) and , we are committed to helping our patients achieve the highest level of health and performance.
- Do some deep breathing: Diaphragmatic breathing exercises are a great way to strengthen your diaphragm (the muscle located below the lungs that helps us take in air and expel carbon dioxide) and increase lung capacity. Strengthening the diaphragm is a fantastic way to improve lung function as we age.
For personalized suggestions and recommendations, reach out to The Genomic Athlete and Dr. Turner. As a highly skilled board-certified Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) physician, Dr. Turner specializes in providing multi-faceted healthcare for active adults, helping athletes optimize their performance and maintain a healthy lifestyle. With a three-pronged approach that tackles patients' cognitive, metabolic, and physical health, Dr. Turner and The Genomic Athlete can help you implement specific strategies to maximize your lung health and overall well-being.
Age With Lung Health in Mind
As athletes age, it's common to experience a 'slow down' — a decline in recovery times, energy levels, and overall performance. As a sports medicine specialist with a background in genomics, Dr. Turner created Misogi Health to deliver precision medical care to older athletes over 35 looking to perform at their highest level. By understanding the unique physiology of each individual, Misogi Health can offer targeted recommendations for nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle interventions to help athletes optimize their performance as they age.
As part of this dedication to his patients' overall health, Dr. Turner and The Genomic Athlete also offer personalized strategies to help protect lung health and maximize oxygen intake as athletes age. With some lifestyle modifications, exercise, and advice from the professionals at The Genomic Athlete, you can ensure that your lungs are in peak condition for many years to come. Start taking the steps today to prioritize your lung health and age with confidence.
Are you ready to take your health and performance to the next level? Then it's time to experience Misogi Health's individualized and comprehensive approach at The Genomic Athlete! Schedule your first consultation with Dr. Turner today to get started.