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How to Clear Your Lungs Before Running

By Juliet Wilkinson

Whether you have a chronic medical condition, such as asthma, or are overcoming lung congestion from a cold or the flu, clearing you lungs before running may improve your performance and comfort. Typically, mucus and pollen can collect in the airways leading to the lungs, the bronchioles, and irritate the sensitive airways. If you are taking antibiotics or recovering from a lung infection, talk to your doctor before you lace up the running shoes.

  1. Take a hot shower or use a cool mist humidifier to loosen any bronchial and lung secretions. During the cooler fall and winter months, forced heating systems and dry air can dry out the airways.

  2. Stand comfortably and place you palms on your abdomen. Draw a deep breath in through your nose until you feel your stomach expanding. Hold the breath for one to two seconds as tolerated.

  3. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat twice and then force a deep cough. Pull the cough from deep in your chest, and repeat the deep breathing if you are unable to expectorate any mucus.

  4. Increase your fluids before a run. Keeping your body hydrated will assist in thinning the mucus in your airways, allowing you to cough up any excess secretions.

  5. Take medications as directed for asthma or allergies before running. Using a prescribed inhaler may help open up the large airways and make exercise more comfortable.

  6. Tip

    Enroll in a smoking cessation class if you are a smoker. Over-the-counter expectorants may help thin mucus for easier expectoration after a cold.

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