How being outdoors is like a breath of fresh air

Did you know there's more to the benefits of outside than just room for exercise? In fact, your whole body is invigorated by the time you spend beyond the four walls of your home or office. Adults often miss out on all the benefits of fresh air.

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  • Remember those days as a child when you'd stay outside until your mother called you in for dinner? The days when being inside was boring, and outside is fun? Those roles have switched in recent decades, a change which is not for the better. Adults tend to spend even less time outside than kids, which means you're missing out on all the benefits fresh air can give you.

  • Did you know there are more to the benefits of outside than just the room for exercise? In fact, your whole body is invigorated by the time you spend beyond the four walls of your home or office. (Note that the operative word here is "fresh" air. If you live in a city with a lot of pollution, you won't receive as many of these benefits. The more "rural" the outdoors, the better and fresher the air is.)

  • Improve your digestion

  • A walk after a meal helps aid quicker digestion, which also helps you lose weight. Fresh air combined with a walk compounds this benefit, doing even more good for your body than a quick walk around the break room or up and down the stairs.

  • Dilate your lungs

  • Did you know that fresh outside air helps your lungs dilate more fully? Outside air also tends to be cleaner and contains less of the toxins inside the house. Breathing fresh air helps you expel those trapped toxins. Plus, Prevention magazine cited a 2003 Swedish study which found, "people who ran in parks felt 15 percent more restored than those who ran on treadmills or through city streets."

  • Increase your energy levels

  • The more oxygen you breathe, the better it is for you brain. Andrew Scholey, the director of the Human Cognitive Neuroscience unit at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, England, said, "We found a dose of oxygen or glucose can improve performance on tasks that require great mental effort." This is because your brain actually uses 20 percent of the body's oxygen, and the better quality the oxygen, the sharper your mind will feel. You'll also find it easier to concentrate, which puts a good plug in for a quick walk around the block when you're feeling sluggish or before a big test or meeting.

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  • Feel happier

  • Literally, fresh air makes you happier because it stimulates your body to release serotonin, a hormone that helps you be more relaxed, heightens your feeling of well-being, and leaves you feeling refreshed.

  • Whether you're an adult or a child, an office worker or a construction worker, spending time in the outdoors where the air is fresh and clean can do wonders for your health and constitution. Here are some tips on the importance of children getting that much needed exercise and fresh air, as well. Make an effort to do something outdoorsy every week, whether it's biking, skiing, walking, snowshoeing or swimming. You'll enjoy more than just the fresh air. You'll enjoy a happier, healthier you, as well.

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Katie Nielsen received her bachelor's in English with an emphasis in technical writing. She has taught English and is a published writer.

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