A healthy respiratory system is crucial to your overall well being. Sometimes you may find yourself panting after engaging in an activity that was barely physical. If you lose your breath after performing simple tasks, you will need to take solid steps toward improving your respiratory health. Lungs breathe out the waste product carbon dioxide and breathe in life-giving oxygen. When blood is pumping through your body efficiently, you will function at a higher level that you might not have even known was possible. We can all take small steps to improve our overall wellness. Although some lifestyle changes may be challenging for some, most changes should be easy for you to fit into your schedule. Here are five ways you can improve your respiratory health and get the air flowing through your lungs easily and naturally:

Quit smoking
Smoking’s adverse effects on your lungs and the rest of your body is well documented. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarettes increase your risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease dramatically. The American Lung Association reports that smoking is directly responsible for approximately 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and 80 to 90 percent of emphysema and chronic bronchitis deaths. Not smoking may be the easiest way to ensure that your respiratory health doesn’t falter as much as it could. However, if you are an avid smoker, quitting may be your most difficult hurdle to surmount. But you are not alone in this endeavor and plenty of support groups want to help you cut cigarettes out of your life such as the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking program.

Cardiovascular exercise
Another way to improve your respiratory health is to engage in vigorous cardiovascular exercise. Running, skiing, basketball, bicycling, swimming, aerobics and kickboxing all strengthen your heart and enrich your respiratory system. This means your lungs will be able to extract carbon dioxide from your blood and send oxygen throughout your body, improving your abilities in each of these activities as your respiratory health advances.

Eat well
You can choose from plenty of nutritious meals to improve your respiratory function. Not surprisingly, fruits and vegetables excel in this category. The antioxidants in these foods protect your respiratory system from all sorts of infections and toxins. Fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which, among other benefits, can improve respiratory functioning. Chicken and lentil soup are rich in nutrients that battle the mucus-linked ailments that can block up the air that should be nourishing your body.

Regular yoga can improve total fitness. Since our brain is vital in overall functioning, we must ensure that it gets all of the oxygen it needs, and we can help ensure this by practicing yoga regularly. Yoga focuses on breathing deeply and being aware of our respiratory systems. By exercising our lungs, we will improve their powers.

Drink herbal tea
Just like healthful soup, tea can benefit your overall health tremendously. Harvard Medical School reports that green tea is a great source of catechins, which fight disease. Pulmonaria is an herbal tea used to improve respiratory functioning. However, simply drinking tea won’t yield significant changes if you don’t improve the other areas of your life, such as proper exercise and nutritious eating. But it will certainly help and is an instance of a small change that could accumulate to have an impressive impact.