They tell you that to stay healthy overall, you need to eat nutritious foods, get enough fresh air, get regular physical activity, and get enough sleep every night. Planting and maintaining an outdoor garden might be just what the doctor ordered. This would be an ideal activity for anyone to do during the spring and summer season; but for people with chronic lung diseases, it can improve your overall health, which makes a huge impact on how well you can breathe. With the warming months coming for many people, they are beginning to plan their gardens.
If you use an oxygen machine, this is an easy and gentle way for you to get the physical activity that you need, if you are using constant oxygen or not. You can wear your portable oxygen concentrator while you are tending to your garden, or wheel it around with you while you are working.
Just be sure you have a hard, sturdy surface for the wheels of your oxygen concentrator if it's not in a carry bag on your back, and make sure no water or moisture touches the machine. Use a watering can or a hose that doesn't create a mist, which will enter the vents of the machine and cause water damage. If you don't have a portable oxygen concentrator, be sure to keep your garden small and close to a sunny side of your house, so that the cord will stretch where you need it to go.
The Lung Health Benefits
Growing healthy foods that are good for your whole body as well as your lungs is a major benefit. Dark green leafy veggies like spinach, collards and turnip greens provide you with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which are good for boosting your immune system and reducing inflammation. Grow some garlic and onions in your garden, as they have been known to help improve lung function, as well as lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. If you can handle them, hot peppers are good for helping to thin and clear out mucous. Grow some herbs like basil and oregano, which are also known to help reduce inflammation and help with lung function.
Weeding your garden is a great gentle exercise, as long as you go slow. The best time to work in your garden is in the evening, when the sun is no longer direct – this is better for you, as well as the plants. The evening is a better time for watering. If you water them in the morning or the afternoon, the water left on the leaves will become hot from the sun and scorch the leaves. Cooler air and indirect sunlight is better for you because you will not become overheated and exhausted, which is dangerous.
If you can avoid the heat, you will be getting a good amount of physical activity and plenty of fresh air, which will also help you fall asleep and have a more restful sleep. Many people with breathing problems complain of having trouble sleeping at night, so this is another huge health benefit from gardening. When you get enough sleep, your immune system can do its job.
Be sure to do some freezing and canning so that you can enjoy the healthy foods from your garden later on in the year.