Lung exercises to prevent pneumonia and coronavirus 
By Walter Sorochan Emeritus Professor San Diego State University

Posted: December 23, 2020 Disclaimer

We are in the midst of a pandemic. A deadly virus that is killing people of all ages, young and old. We have a lot of hope that a vaccine will save us. But the coronavirus has already mutated for the third time. So just how effective vaccines are going to be is questionable.


We need to do things to prevent getting infected. But we never know when we will get sick or disabled, like with a kidney disorder, or a heart condition. Now in the hospital we are going to be exposed to all the lingering bacteria and viruses.

It is your lungs that can become the problem. The illustration on the left shows where the breathing problem, the dead air space, is.

The dead air space is usually in the main bronchus and often the bronchioli branches [light blue color] as well as the alveoli near the bronchus. Although a person may breathe shallow, very little oxygen-air gets into the lungs. Air in the dead space doesn't move. Non-moving air makes a good home for streptococcus pneumonia bacteria.

When you go to the hospital you have a problem besides a heart, kidney or other problem  …. exposure to pneumonia. Even if you do not go to the hospital and stay home with the flu or ??? you can still get pneumonia. And needlessly die from it. Pneumonia is caused by lack of regular exercise and low immunity that invites bacteria to live in the dead air space.

lung pneumoniaMany persons have died from pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection that may be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi that fills the air sacs in the lungs with fluid or pus[yellow color]. The illustration on the right shows fluid in the alveoli of lungs, making it difficult to inhale oxygen, causing coughing and fever.

Is there any way to prepare your body for such a possibility?

Yes there are several options. But the most important is your lungs. Bacteria and viruses have a home in your bronchial tubes and lungs when there is dead air that does not move in the bronchial-lung area; especially when you do not exercise. This dead air is a breeding ground for bacteria like pneumonia. So if you get sick and go to the hospital, then this dead air can become infected very quickly.

The best way to minimize and prevent the dead air space in the lungs is to exercise like running and even walking every day. You need exercise that makes you gasp for air! Move the dead air out and replace it with new oxygen. Now the pneumonia bacteria have no place to live. Did you know that oxygen kills bacteria and even viruses?

So everyone, young and old, can minimize exposure to pneumonia by exercising that makes you gasp for air! Even semi invalids like me, Walter, with a broken hip and limited ability to walk, can do deep breathing exercises that are similar to running or skipping a rope.

There are several ways to exercise your lungs and get rid of trapped or dead air in the lungs and bronchial tubes:

lung Patient volumeter 1. Breather Volumetric Exerciser: Get an exercise lung instrument [ on the left side] that allows you to strengthen your lungs and improve your breathing. You blow air into the machine that forces air into your lungs. This is the instrument doctors prescribe hospital patients.lungs run up stairs

2. Exercise regularly: run, walk and gasp for air

3. Run up the stairs in your house or condo [illustration on the right]

4. Deep breathing three or more times a day.

Usually, as I write this article, I am shallow breathing. The air I inhale reaches the bronchial tree and the tip of the lungs nearby. But the air in this bronchial area does not move very much. It is dead air. And this dead air is where the bacteria and even viruses live.

Now if you inhale deeply then you move fresh air-oxygen into this dead space and drive out or kill the bacteria and viruses.

How to inhale deeply: Take a deep breath slowly, hold for 2 to 3 seconds while pressing into your diaphragm, then slowly exhale. This deep breathing forces the air into the dead space and beyond into the lungs.

But you need to inhale deeply for more than just a few times a day. How about 10 times before getting out of bed? Then 10 more times after breakfast. 20 times at noon; and 30 times in the evening. When watching TV, inhale deeply 20 times every hour. The deep oxygen inhalation cleans out the bacteria.

It is you who needs to clean out the dead air in your lungs. Not the doctor or friend or TV!

This, deep breathing and exercising, is a small start to prevent getting the flu or pneumonia but a very vital one. You will be better prepared to go to the hospital or doctor’s office when exercising your lungs regularly. Odds will be with you surviving the coronavirus should you get it. It is interesting that elementary school children can withstand coronavirus infection better than old adults. Why? One reason is because they are always running, playing and exercising. Another maybe due to getting a lot of sunshine and hormone D.

I mentioned that there are several additional things you can do besides exercise to prevent getting infected with pneumonia. Here are a few:

Food is your best medicine. Start eating a variety of fresh, raw vegetables, fruit and nuts. Everyone has their excuse for eating the typical American diet of French fries, cheeseburger and coke. These are food addictions along with too much fat and sweets that make for a bad diet. Now I have hit a sore spot as no one wants to give up what one has been eating for many, many years.

But it is the proper kind of food that enhances your immune system.

Coronavirus has made us aware that we have picked up a lot of bad habits. Even bad politics, economics and hand shaking. We cannot continue on this bad life style journey. This is a time to make changes along with how we shop and what we eat.

Good diet makes for a good immune system. And a good immune system is essential for preventing infections and diseases. Food may be more important than antibiotics, medicine and aspirin for headache.

I may have sounded like a preacher on the hill. But use your common sense to stay alive and survive. Learn from your mistakes and others.

I took the time to share this reminder-information with you because I care.

Only you can stay well; antibiotics and your doctor can help.