It’s no secret that breathing is essential for life. But breathing fresh air is also necessary for our health and well-being. Especially for adults who find themselves sitting behind a desk for eight hours a day. If you can’t remember the last time you ran through fields, walked on the beach, or rode a bike, then it’s time to reconnect with the outdoors.
While most of us have a gut feeling that breathing fresh air helps us feel better, it turns out that science shows that fresh air does make us feel better.
Fresh Oxygen: Mother Nature’s Energizer
Put down that cup of coffee and take a walk outside instead. This advice is backed by science. Spending time outside in fresh air increases energy in 90% of people tested. Spending time in nature makes people feel more alive, and some even consider it fuel for the soul. To hone in on the effects of nature alone, research was done to test whether the feelings associated with the outdoors was a spillover from physical activity or social activities held outside.
The results showed that the presence of nature had a separate energizing effect. And that 20 minutes spent outside in nature was enough to raise energy levels significantly.
Stop and Smell the Roses for Real.
Turns out, “stop and smell the roses” means more than relaxing and take it easy. Smelling roses, other flowers, and fresh-cut grass can promote relaxation, improve mood, and lower anxiety. Even a quick stroll through your backyard or the smell of freshly cut grass wafting through your window can lift your spirits. A Japanese study showed that pinene, the terpene that gives pine, spruce, and fir trees their distinctive scent, can increase relaxation and decrease stress.
You may be disappointed when rain cancels your morning run, but we are almost hardwired to love the scent of rain. Consider all the rain-scented candles, linen sprays, and room deodorizers. The rain releases aromatic terpenes, and their scent awakens our deep connection to the earth.
Immune System Booster, Naturally
When you’re cooped up inside an office or even your home, stepping outside can give your brain, body, and especially your lungs a much-needed break. A simple walkout can boost your immune system, even in winter when we tend to think staying warm inside is easier on the immune system. Taking a brisk walk out and breathing in fresh air gives you a break from all those germs stuck inside with you.
But that’s not all. According to Health.com, exercise increases natural killer cells, monocyte, and neutrophils that improve immune function. You don’t have to remember those names, remember that a walk outside is right for your health.
Boosts Brain, Heart, and Lung Health
Breathing in that fresh air not only make you feel better emotionally, but it also improves lung health, heart health, and boosts brain health. The deep breaths that we almost automatically take when we step outside help dilate our airways brings in more oxygen and improves the cleansing action of our lungs. It also improves blood pressure and heart rate, which has a direct impact on overall heart health. And lastly, it gives your brain more oxygen so that it can function more efficiently.
So, the next time you feel tired, stressed, anxious, or unable to concentrate, take a quick walk outside and get some fresh air. You’ll not only feel better, but you’ll be giving your health a boost. Your mind and your body will thank you.