Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. -Laura Ingalls Wilder
Fresh Air. We start breathing from the moment we are born until the moment we die. Our lives first and foremost depend on plenty of oxygen in the air--the invisible gaseous substance surrounding the earth--that is brought into the lungs via breathing, where it is transported by red blood cells to the entire body. Oxygen is needed to burn the fuel [sugars and fatty acids] in our body's cells producing energy from the food we eat.
When the body does not get enough oxygen, fatigue, poor concentration, fainting, hyperventilation, confusion, and possibly death are all possible effects. Age, sex, weight, physical fitness, and level of ongoing physical activity affect how much oxygen your body needs.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 93% of their life indoors. 87% of their life is indoors, then another 6% of their life in automobiles. Air quality, both indoors and outdoors affects our health. In another EPA Indoor Air study “concentrations of some indoor pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations".
The idiom "Get Some Air" means take a break literally or figuratively: To invigorate oneself by breathing refreshing outdoor air, especially after departing from a building or other enclosed space for this purpose. Getting out of our buildings intentionally, spending time outdoors to breathe in some fresh air and sunshine is a great way to do just that!
Sunshine. There are many benefits of moderate sun exposure for the body and mind. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain's release of the hormone serotonin which helps people feel calm and boosts our attitudes and moods.
Sunlight helps stimulate the body's production of vitamin D supply. Most cases of vitamin D deficiency are due to lack of outdoor sun exposure. Our bodies must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children and fragile, misshapen bones in adults. Vitamin D also plays a role in other important body functions.
Sensible exposure to sunshine gives us more energy and helps us to have a bright outlook feeling more focused and positive.
Here is 'deep' borrowed wisdom from others about breathing air, soaking-up sunshine and being in the great outdoors:
Sunshine is a welcome thing. It brings a lot of brightness.” -Jimmie Davis
“How do you tell if something's alive? You check for breathing.” -Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
The importance of breathing need hardly be stressed. It provides the oxygen for the metabolic processes; literally it supports the fires of life. But breath as "pneuma" is also the spirit or soul. We live in an ocean of air like fish in a body of water. By our breathing we are attuned to our atmosphere. If we inhibit our breathing we isolate ourselves from the medium in which we exist. In all Oriental and mystic philosophies, the breath holds the secret to the highest bliss. That is why breathing is the dominant factor in the practice of Yoga.” -Alexander Lowen,The Voice of The Body
“With every breath, the old moment is lost; a new moment arrives. We exhale and we let go of the old moment. It is lost to us. In doing so, we let go of the person we used to be. We inhale and breathe in the moment that is becoming. In doing so, we welcome the person we are becoming. We repeat the process. This is meditation. This is renewal. This is life." -Lama Surya Das, Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be
“I am never alone wherever I am. The air itself supplies me with a century of love. When I breathe in, I am breathing in the laughter, tears, victories, passions, thoughts, memories, existence, joys, moments, and the hues of the sunlight on many tones of skin; I am breathing in the same air that was exhaled by many before me. The air that bore them life. And so how can I ever say that I am alone?” -C. JoyBell C.
It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature's gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever. -Jimmy Carter
Another thing I like to do is sit back and take in nature. To look at the birds, listen to their singing, go hiking, camping and jogging and running, walking along the beach, playing games and sometimes being alone with the great outdoors. It's very special to me. -Larry Wilcox
A good roast of sun, it slows you, lets you relax–and out here if there's anything wrong, you can see it coming with bags of time to do what's next. This is the place and the weather for peace, for the cultivation of a friendly mind. -A.L. Kennedy, Day
I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks
As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness--just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm. -Laura Ingalls Wilder
If you're not getting outside enough, to enjoy nature, inhale fresh air, and soak in some natural Vitamin D that only sunshine can provide, can you think of some ways you might incorporate a bit more outdoors time versus indoors time into your life's schedule? Fresh air and sunshine do a body good! Plus it feels good too. I cannot think of a quicker, inexpensive (in fact, it's free) way to get energized, boost mood, increase one's focus and stay positive.
By Judith Garner, Certified Health Coach
Helping people stay healthy inside & out!