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Things You Never Knew about Plain Old Fresh Air
Want to boost your brain power, improve your overall health, and just plain old feel great? Spend more time outside!
People always say how they love summer, they can’t wait for summer, pray for winter to be over already, but then the average American spends most of his summer time inside air conditioned buildings complaining about the heat. Even children today spend 7 more hours on academics and 2 hours less on sports or just being outside every week than they did 20 years ago. Attendance at national parks has been falling steadily for years an annual family vacations are down by 28 percent. So what gives?
All this indoor time isn’t doing our health any favors. We all need more of that vitamin “G” time, “G” for green time, outside time. Children who get more of that vitamin G are more successful in school, have lower stress levels, and have much fewer ADHD symptoms. Being out in the sunlight causes our bodies to turn sunshine into vitamin D, something research has lately been proving is a potent cancer fighter and health tonic all in one.
Many baby boomers grew up running through the fields, playing at parks, cruising local neighborhoods on our bicycles, and as adults, many of us now spend a great deal of time indoors. The hours we spent outside were good for much more than just burning up our childhood energy, science has shown us that being outside in fresh air is very, very good for us.
As you learned in science class while you were in elementary school, trees use photosynthesis to turn our carbon dioxide into oxygen. The oxygen that we need to breathe. It’s a good relationship we have going on with trees. In just one year, trees have saved about 850 lives and prevented 670,000 cases of acute respiratory problems, according to the journal Environmental Pollution. Trees remove pollution from the air, which makes the air healthier for us to breathe, and according to research, the fresh air that trees make is especially important for those who live in urban areas where the air contains more pollutants.
Air pollution causes major health problems. It’s been shown that air pollution causes that burning effect in the eyes noses, and throats of many people while making it much harder for asthmatics to even breathe at all. Some of the toxic chemicals that float through the air, such as vinyl chloride and benzene, are so toxic that they can cause cancer, birth defects, damage the lungs, nerves, and our brains. When we breathe the fresh air that plants make lowers our chances of coming into contact with these dangerous pollutants.
A study done in 2003 done in Sweden showed that people who rain in green park areas felt more restored than those who ran on their treadmills or through city streets. Taking a bike ride, walking, or hiking, especially for those with children, is a great way to take a break from the weekday woes and encourages family fitness. Studies show that interaction with nature and wildlife reduces depression, promotes healing, inspires creativity, and can even increase your life expectancy by as much as 15 percent, according to Japanese researchers.
Being outside can also improve your immune system. If you find yourself cooped up with a lot of people at the office or even at home, such close quarter with others is exposing you to a variety of germs and viruses. Just a simple walk outside improves your immune system. Even simple exercise, such as walking, leads to an increase in natural cells inside your immune system that kill intruders. Read more about 10 ways you are ruining your immune system.
You really should make time to stop and smell the roses, research suggests. Smelling flowers such as roses, jasmine, and lavender lowers stress levels and improves your mood. Walking in the woods, smelling pine trees, increases relaxation levels and lowers stress levels, too. Even just taking time to walk through a park, or spending time in your own backyard, can go a long way towards making you feel calmer and happier. Although rain might put a damper on plans to go outside, the smell of rain is a favorite of many people. Open a window and enjoy the smell of rain on fresh green plants.
You can ditch those energy drinks in favor of going outside instead. Research shows that spending time outside, increases energy levels in 90 percent of people tested. Nature is like fuel for our souls, and when we feel down and out we often reach for a cup of coffee or a sugar filled energy drink, when all we really need to do is to go outside and get some of that vitamin G.
Encourage your children to spend more time outside. Having young children start a vegetable garden is a great way to start. Kids who have gardens spend more time outside, eat more vegetables, and score 12 percent higher on tests at school, research shows. Choose some hardy, easy to grow crops for beginners such as tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, and radishes. Imagine how excited your kids will be when they see their tomatoes being used for supper, making their own pumpkin seeds, and carving a jack-o-lantern from a pumpkin they grew themselves! Find out super easy to grow veggies.
For adults, you can add parsley and brightly colored flowers to your garden to attract caterpillars and butterflies that you can watch all summer long. Make birdfeeders with your kids and enjoy the activity of birds year round.
There are so many different way to enjoy the fresh air, that’s why we call it the great outdoors!
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