How to heal lungs after smoking

Updated April 17, 2017

Smoking causes a large amount of damage to the body, including the lungs. Once you quit, the time it takes your body to heal this damage depends on how long you smoked and how severe your habit was, but the body is excellent at healing itself and removing the toxins associated with smoking. By making a few lifestyle changes, you can help your body to heal your lungs faster, and greatly improve your health.

Learn some breathing exercises. Do these several times a day to train the lungs to take deep breaths, and to strengthen the lungs. One of the best exercises is to lie flat on your back, breathing in through your nose, while pushing your stomach muscles out. It should feel like your stomach is filling with air. Breathe out slowly, through pursed lips. Exhaling should take twice as long as inhaling. Repeat for at least two minutes, two or three times a day.

Add some cardiovascular exercise to your lifestyle. A bicycle ride or brisk walk will help to strengthen your lungs and improve your general fitness. Exercise is also a great stress reliever, meaning you are less likely to feel the need to smoke due to stress.

Increase the time spent exercising slowly, so you are always increasing your fitness, and making your bodywork. Following an organised training programme may help you to keep motivated, and allow you to see how much progress you are making. As you get fitter, add more types of exercise to your lifestyle, such as karate or aerobics. This helps you to maintain interest in your fitness regime, and will keep your lungs and body working hard, strengthening your muscles.

Increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables in your diet, especially bright coloured ones. These are rich in antioxidants, which will aid your healing and boost your immune system. Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and more if possible. The extra vitamins and minerals will speed up the healing process.

Drink lots of water. At least two litres a day is recommended, but add more if you can. Keeping your body hydrated will ensure your lungs are kept moist, which speeds up healing and prevents infection. Carrying a bottle of water around with you may prompt you to drink more, and keep some water by your bed at night too, to prevent overnight dehydration.

See a general practitioner. A check up will highlight any issues that could hinder your health, and your doctor may be able to suggest personal ways to increase your lung health.

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About the Author

Elle Blake has been writing since 2006. Her articles regularly appear in "All Women Stalk," "Parenting," "Education Plus" and "Glamour." She has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in early childhood studies and primary education and a Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in animal welfare and behavior, both from the University of Warwick. She is currently studying towards NCTJ Certificate in Magazine and Journalism.