- Box Breathing – This technique gets its name from the concept of maintaining the mental image of a breathing box. It’s meant to help you to imagine filling your lungs to capacity. When doing this technique, inhale through the nose for four seconds, followed by holding the breath for four seconds, then exhaling through the nose for another four seconds. Finally, hold the exhale for four seconds.
- Timed Breathing – Using a timer, record how often you breathe for a full minute. Aim for five to six times per minute as the average reading for an adult is twice that.
- Clearing Your Throat – In this technique, inhale through the nose for five seconds, hold that breath for another five seconds, then exhale forcefully through the mouth. When exhaling, force a cough.
The Benefits Of These Exercises
While each breathing exercise is meant to work on improving your lung capacity in general, certain exercises can have specific benefits.
You may also be asked to do particular exercises before or after treatment, as well as at different times of the day.
- Exercises like the pursed-lip technique limit the speed of your exhalations, which helps keep your airways open longer.
- Timing yourself can help you to take deeper breaths, which helps with increasing your lung capacity.
- Practicing to clear your throat regularly using a forced cough helps with dislodging mucus that has built up in your lungs. This mucus removal gives your lungs more room to expand when breathing.
- The exercises help you to become more aware of your breathing by taking fewer shallow breaths.
- Consistent practice leads to stronger lung muscles, which is helpful when you’re doing physical activities.
When you’re dealing with this late-stage cancer, your lung capacity can be significantly impacted.
While it may not feel like it at first, practicing helpful breathing techniques can help you to maintain your working lung function. It can even make it possible for you to get some well-needed exercise.
If you’re having trouble with any of the exercises, reach out to your doctor to determine if you need any assistance.
Additionally, make sure you’re not doing anything that will combat the benefits of the exercises. That includes smoking or spending too much time in areas with chemicals that can irritate your lungs.