Being closed inside during the winter months and now because of Covid-19 can have adverse results on our well-being. One thing for sure is that when you are cooped up inside you are not receiving the health benefits that breathing fresh air can provide. Such a simple task as getting some fresh air can be very beneficial to our minds as well.
How much time do you spend indoors?
According to the EPA, we Americans spend as much as 93 % of our lives indoors. That is 87% indoors and another 6% in our automobiles. It should not be too surprising if you think about it. A big part of our days are spent in buildings at work or school.
Our hectic life styles keep us rushing from point-to-point, stores, school activities, medical appointments and then home for Dinner. Next time you drive through your neighborhood take a look to see how many people you actually see outside. Probably not too many because at those figures we are only outside about a half a day per week.
How’s that air you are breathing inside?
There are many sources for the poor quality of our indoor air. Our homes heating systems and other fuel burning appliances are one source. Others include furniture, flooring, and building materials made with certain offending materials. Even certain household cleaning products could be a culprit.
Our homes are built tighter than ever before sealing the air inside to be circulated by our home heating and cooling systems over and over again. In homes that have little ventilation or infiltration methods and the air exchange rate is low, the level of indoor pollutants can rise.
According to the EPA indoor air often has two to five times the amount of air pollutants as outdoor air. Some times the air inside a home can be more harmful than the air outside. The more particles that are in the air you breathe the more difficult it is for your lungs to remove them. Poor air quality can have an adverse effect on your lungs making it difficult for them to function properly.
Home air pollution is harmful to everyone, but children are more susceptible to particle pollution. These should be all good reasons to get out and get some fresh air more often.
Can Fresh air make you feel better ?
Breathing fresh air will bring additional amounts of oxygen to our lungs. Oxygen is the most important nutrition for our cells. Oxygen is the power for our bodies and muscles. Oxygen is the element our cells need to create energy. Increased levels of oxygen will help us perform better physically without fatigue.
Breathing fresh air and getting more oxygen will provide our immune systems with the energy it needs to produce healthy white blood cells. It will also help supply our immune system with the oxygen it needs to fight off bacteria, viruses and germs.
Stale, dirty air forces the body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Fresh air will improve our blood pressure and heart rate, improving our overall heart health. Breathing fresh air helps your lungs to dilate more fully, which will improve the cleansing action of your lungs.
Unlike Energy drinks or other unnatural energy sources fresh air will give you an energy boost without the associated crash you get from the unnatural suppliers. Fresh air naturally raises energy levels and also, is a relaxant for when you are winding down at the end of the day.
The brain uses as much as three times as much oxygen as muscles do for healthy neuron function. Your brain is very sensitive to decreased oxygen levels. That is why getting out in the fresh air can be so refreshing.
People generally assume, wrongly, that the reason we get more illnesses during the winter is because it is cold outside. The real reason that this happens is because we are cooped up inside with bunches of other people spreading our germs, viruses and such amongst each other. Social distancing ring a bell ?
How about fresh air and our mental health?
A healthy emotional state is maintained by a neuo transmitter hormone in the brain called serotonin. Changes in levels of this hormone have been associated with anxiety and depression. The amount of oxygen you inhale affects the serotonin levels in your brain. This could lead us to believe that getting more fresh air could be beneficial to our emotional well-being.
Getting more oxygen to your brain helps it to function more efficiently perhaps bringing more concentration and clarity. Being outside and taking deep breaths settles the nervous system and garners peacefulness.
Along with the fresh air we can get more of outside you might also expose yourself to scents from plants like jasmine and lavender which can help relieve anxiety, insomnia and stress and boost your mood. Research has shown that spending just 20 minutes in a park, without exercise can improve your well-being. So it does not have to be a huge effort, just get out and enjoy.
When we are outside we are more likely to be involved in physical activity, think about it. A new phenomenon taking place in our societies is green exercise. This at it’s simplest form is getting exercise in natural environments. Studies show that it can have positive effects on our self-esteem and mood. It seems especially beneficial for people with mental illnesses such as depression.
It seems simple enough to me
So for me I cannot think of any activity that could be simpler than just getting outside a little more. Personally I love being outside and always have. The freedom of the wide open spaces, the breeze on my face and the wonderful scents of nature have always been very appealing to me.
In these times of Covid-19 where it is not a good idea to be cooped inside around lots of people how much easier can it get to motivate us outside and reap this simple benefit, in such short periods of time. I think it’s a no-brainer get your self out there for some extra time each day and I think you will soon come to find that you are glad you did it.
Thanks for taking the time to look at this post. I hope it can be of benefit to you and your health. If you have anything to add, I would love to hear it. Please leave any comment below.