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entry May 10 2008, 02:18 PM
Regaining Healthy Lungs: This year, it will be 19 years since I smoked. Fortunately, I only have asthma interfering with my breathing. Both my mother and my sister died while on oxygen due to emphysema (from smoking). If you have a breathing condition due to lung damage, you may think that's a reason to take it easy, not exercise, maybe allow a few extra pounds...because you're sick, right? My experience with asthma has taught me I must get regular aerobic exercise and keep my weight down to keep breathing. If I stop exercising for as little as 3 days, I can feel it in my breathing. By a week, I'm taking my inhaler 2-3 times a day. If I gain as little as 10 pounds, I have great difficulty doing my exercise and other daily activities.
Don't take my word for it, listen to my mother and sister. My mother went on oxygen at age 65 and got serious about her health. She quit smoking, lost weight and walked for exercise every day. She walked a couple miles a day in the neighborhood, rolling her oxygen tank behind her. She walked in the shopping mall during the Winter and Summer, long enough to be awarded a 1,000 mile t-shirt at around age 70. She lived 15 years after starting her oxygen, learned oil painting and won awards, and did thousands of hours of volunteer community service. My sister went on oxygen at age 62, refused to exercise and gained about 30 pounds. She lived only 3 years longer. What can you do with 12 years? Don't let a little lung damage keep you down.
As my Mom and sister can tell you, developing healthy lungs and regaining as much lung capacity as possible after damage, require discipline and hard work, but they can reap great benefits. If weight control and exercise added 12 years to my Mom's life after she got a fatal lung condition, how much can they benefit you? The earlier you start developing healthy lungs, the longer you'll enjoy the life you have. Don't wait until you're short of breath, like we did.

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