2 of the Best Free Gifts from Nature

green-benefits-of-nature

Life is full of unknowns. Stress and anxiety seem to be the norm. But what if there were natural remedies that could help you live a thriving life?

And best of all: they don’t cost a thing.

The truth is, two of nature’s best gifts to us are fresh air and sunshine.

You can’t be at your most optimal health without getting frequent fresh air and sunshine. This dynamic duo promotes healthy living and strengthens your body’s defense systems. Side-note: Clean water is also one of nature’s gifts, and I talk about that in another blog post.

Let’s explore nature’s first prescription to every ailing human body.

Health Risks for Staying Indoors

Americans spend 90% of their time indoors.1  Considering you probably spend 8 hours sleeping and 8 hours indoors working, this doesn’t leave too much time for outdoor activities. 

Here’s something that may come as a surprise to you though. Indoor air contains 2-5 times more pollutants than outdoor air.1

Some examples of pollutants and their sources include1:

  • Cleaning supplies – volatile organic compounds like toluene, benzene, and formaldehyde
  • Combustion sources from fireplaces – carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide
  • Building materials – asbestos, chemicals off-gassing
  • Biological sources – mold, dust mites, pet dander

It’s clear to see that many of the sources of pollutants are common materials or activities performed inside homes.

But these can lead to health effects like1:

  • Irritation of eyes, nose, and throat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Cancer

But there’s no need to panic, the great news is that there’s a solution to improving the air that you’re exposed to. 

Spend more time outdoors in an environment that provides fresh air.

And of course, be sure to do so in a safe and socially distanced way. 

Here are some benefits you’ll experience from spending time outdoors.

Health Benefits of Sunshine,

Vitamin D, and Fresh Air

I recognize that you may live in an area with poor outdoor air quality. However, there are benefits to spending time outdoors in nature with fresh air and sunshine. 

1. You’ll gain more energy.

While it’s tempting to grab a cup of coffee to increase your energy during your afternoon slump, nature provides a better and free alternative. Instead of chugging that energy drink, consider taking a 30-minute walk outdoors. Scientists found that spending time in nature increased energy by 90%.2

Whether your work involves moving around, lifting heavy objects, or sitting down at your computer desk, some fresh air and sunshine will increase your physical and mental energy to keep going.

2. You’ll increase your vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. After sunlight hits your skin, the cholesterol in your skin cells is converted to make vitamin D.3

Why is this important? Why does your body need vitamin D?

Your body needs vitamin D for a healthy immune system and to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.4 Vitamin D also helps to protect your body against inflammation, lower your blood pressure, and improve muscle use and brain function. 

Low vitamin D levels are linked to osteoporosis, depression, muscle weakness, and cancer.

In addition to sunlight, you can also obtain vitamin D from healthy foods and/or take a vitamin D supplement. Of course, consult your doctor before taking supplements: especially if you’re taking medications.

3. You’ll experience more happiness and decreased depression.

While too much sunlight may not be good for your skin, having an adequate amount can actually decrease depression and provide mood-boosting benefits.

When exposed to sunlight, your brain releases serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that can help you feel happy, calm, and focused. And low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.

Also, exercising outdoors in nature can provide benefits for your mental health by decreasing depression and increasing happiness.5 Whether it’s doing a CrossFit workout or yoga, I enjoy exercising outdoors during the warmer months.

4. Outdoor air promotes lung health.

Outdoor air can have lower levels of pollution and possess higher levels of oxygen than indoor air. 

This oxygen can help the blood vessels in your lungs dilate. This improves your lung health by cleansing them and repairing lung tissue, which ultimately helps your body get rid of intruders and foreign substances it doesn’t need.

It’s Time to Take Advantage of Nature’s Health Benefits

While finding time to get out and be in nature can be challenging, I hope that these benefits and tips will motivate you to make time in your schedule. So, pencil in a nature walk or jog through the park. 

I want you to feel your best and experience a thriving, energetic life 

Where do you love to go outside and enjoy nature? Share with me in the comments!
And lastly, follow me on Instagram to follow my holistic health journey.

References

  1. https://www.epa.gov/report-environment/indoor-air-quality
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494409000838
  3. https://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/36/3/1345.full
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780124158535000133
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/a-prescription-for-better-health-go-alfresco

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