The health of the lungs is often overlooked until a diagnosis of an associated condition occurs. As an essential organ for breathing, the lungs help to perform even simple everyday tasks.

World Lung Day is observed on Sept. 25 to spread awareness about lung health. On this World Lung Day, here are some tips that can help to keep your lungs healthy.

1. Quit smoking

Smoking cigarettes damages all organs of the body, and it is particularly damaging to the lungs as it reduces its capacity and causes cancer. According to reports, almost 90% of people who die from lung cancer are smokers. Secondhand smoke causes around 3,000 adult deaths every year.

However, studies show that when a person quits smoking, the lungs start to heal immediately and the lung function improves within a month.

Many people use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking. However, according to the American Lung Association, e-cigarettes can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease as they contain and emit a number of potentially toxic substances.

2. Avoid exposure to pollution

Exposure to air pollutants, both inside the house and outside, affects the functioning of the lungs. The pollutants irritate the airways and may trigger asthma, wheezing and coughing. Long-term exposure to pollutants can result in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and elevate the risk of lung cancer.

Checking indoor air quality and avoiding secondhand smoke and chemicals in the home and workplace can help reduce exposure to indoor air pollutants. When air quality is poor outside, it is better to avoid exercising outdoors and reduce the chances of prolonged exposure, according to the American Lung Association.

3. Get regular exercise

According to the national guidelines, all adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity such as walking or cycling for five days a week. Aerobic activities such as walking and running help to improve the efficiency of the lungs, while muscle-strengthening activities such as weight-lifting can tone lung muscles.

4. Do regular checkups

Doing regular checkups can help diagnose lung disorders at the earliest, as they may not have obvious symptoms until they become severe. It is recommended to consult a doctor if you experience symptoms such as chronic cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain or if you notice chronic phlegm or cough up blood.

Identifying early warning signs can help to get the right treatment before the disease becomes serious or even life-threatening.