Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Life Benefits of Getting Fresh Air

Guest Contributor Lee has a new post on fresh air:
Do you make it a priority to get outside every day? You might after you read this article. People do all kinds of things in the name of their health and well-being, like taking supplements, trying new diets, and going on expensive retreats. But if you want better health and a more optimistic outlook on life, the solution might be much simpler than all those things: just go outside and breathe some fresh, clean air.

Intrigued? Here are five reasons why fresh air might just be the best medicine available to you.

1. Getting outside gives your immune system a boost.
If you want to stay healthy, you've got to take care of your immune system. Your immune system fights off invading bacteria and viruses, protecting you from everything from the common cold to stomach flu. There are a number of ways you can keep your immune system in tip-top condition, including eating a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits, getting enough sleep, and washing your hands regularly. But the simplest thing of all you can do? Just step outside and take a quick walk around the block. The combination of oxygen and exercise will boost your white blood cell levels, helping you fight off infections before they even get a foothold in your body.

2. Fresh air helps you stay alert.
Feeling sleepy after lunch? Don't reach for that energy drink or third cup of coffee. Take a minute to step outside instead. Fresh air has a way of clearing your head and boosting your alertness. It can even make you more creative. As a result, your thinking will become clearer and sharper at school or on the job, no caffeine required.

3. Spending time in the sunlight increases your vitamin D levels.
Did you know that many people are vitamin D deficient, even though this essential nutrient is plentiful and free? That's right - we can get vitamin D from the sun, but lots of office workers, students, and other people who spend most of their time inside still don't get enough of it. You can boost your vitamin D levels - thereby improving your mental health, bone health, and cardiovascular health - by spending as little as fifteen minutes outside on sunny days. Wear short sleeves if it's warm enough, so your skin can soak up as much sunlight as possible. Just don't forget to put on sunscreen after fifteen minutes!

4. Fresh air makes you happier and less stressed.
If your mood has been down in the dumps lately, it could be because you've been spending too time breathing stale air indoors. People tend to be happiest and healthiest when they're getting regular doses of fresh air and sunshine. In fact, wilderness therapy has been found to be a potent antidepressant - people actually have lower rates of mental health problems like depression and anxiety when they spend regular time outside in nature. The great outdoors also has a soothing effect on stress, so if you've been under pressure lately, a few deep breaths of fresh, clean air could be just what you need.

5. Unpolluted air improves your overall health.
Breathing in pollution isn't good for you - everybody knows that. People who live in areas with lots of pollution are more likely to deal with asthma, digestive problems, and cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure than people who live in less-polluted areas. Breathing clean air has the opposite effect: it supplies your body with plenty of oxygen, improves your lung capacity, and makes it easier for your heart to do its job. If you live in a big city with a pollution problem, do your best to visit green spaces like parks frequently, since trees purify the air.

The Takeaway
Fresh air does a body good. If you haven't been getting your daily dose of fresh air, establish a new habit of going outside frequently. You'll likely become happier and healthier as a result.