The year 2020 has tested people in many ways, including impacting our ability to breathe fresh air.
COVID-19 has put us at risk of upper respiratory illnesses, which could have long-term effects on the lungs and breathing. We’ve had to shelter in place and wear masks both in public indoor facilities and outdoors to protect against the virus, which has made it hard to breathe fresh air in day-to-day life. And most recently, much of California and the West Coast has had to deal with wildfires, smoky skies and poor air quality, which has made it dangerous to venture outside for nearly a month.
While it’s been hard to take on these challenges this year, we certainly have perspective and an appreciation for the basic necessities and joys in life, including the importance of getting fresh air. Following are five reasons why breathing fresh air is vital to one’s health and well-being.
• Increases oxygen in the body. Fresh air consists of oxygen, which is critical for fueling the cells in the body that provide the basic building blocks we need to survive. Oxygen also cleanses the lungs and gets transferred through the lungs into the bloodstream for purposes of detoxification in the body.
• Strengthens the immune system. Being outside and breathing fresh air can strengthen the immune system, which is extremely important right now to protect against COVID-19. The fresh air and oxygen can kill bacteria and fuel the cells that help the body fight off viruses and other invaders.
• Increases energy. A person’s energy level is greatly impacted by being able to breathe fresh air, especially if it’s paired with exercise. Being able to walk, run, hike or bike outside gets the blood pumping and the heart rate up and is good for overall cardiovascular health. Fresh air provides people with more energy both during and after these activities throughout the day.
• Provides mental clarity. Getting away from stuffy indoor air, technology and screen time and trading it for fresh air outside can provide mental clarity. It’s an opportunity to be mindful and not overstimulated. In these moments, one can reduce stress and anxiety, think more clearly, problem solve or creatively brainstorm new ideas.
• Promotes healing. Sunshine and fresh air can promote mental and physical healing. The vitamin D from sunshine boosts happiness, well-being, positivity and mental health. Also, being active outside can create an increase in blood flow, repair cells and rid the body of toxins, which helps people heal from injuries and other ailments in the body.
Reena Vokoun is founder and CEO of the Los Altos-based Passion Fit, a health, wellness and fitness lifestyle company. For more information, visit passionfit.com.