Did you ever notice differences about how you feel being inside, on the beach, in the forest or in polluted urban areas, or doing your workout inside or outdoors? What makes this difference? Let’s talk about it.
We spend so much time inside and sitting through the day that it makes us unhealthy. Lack of fresh air, sunlight, and physical activity affects our well-being. According to the World Health Organization, this increases our chances of depression, obesity, and cardiovascular disease which is a very serious alarm for public health officials.
Fresh sea, mountain, and forest air make a positive effect on our health due to their healing powers. There are many scientifically proven health benefits of fresh air, such as: clear lungs, lifting of mood, stress relief, reducing anxiety and depression, strengthens our immune system, improve sleep and heart rate, increase energy level, reduce high blood pressure and cortisone level, improve some illness conditions and fighting cancer. Fresh air is vital for people who live in urban areas where the air is heavily polluted.
Sea air contains ozone, many minerals and trace of elements such as iodine, selenium, magnesium, bromine. People, who live on the coast, feel healthier in comparison to those who live away from the shore. Travelers to beach destinations experience the positive effects of the marine climate as well. The sea air is very beneficial for people with metabolic disorder, respiratory deceases and functional diseases of the nervous system.
Multiple scientific researches have shown the positive impact on human well-being of being outdoors in oxygen rich environments and connecting with nature. People enjoy being in a park or forest due to the quiet atmosphere, smell the freshness in the air, possibility to watch the birds, plants, trees, spring flowers blooming, and beautiful autumn leaf colors. Also, studies have shown that just looking at green color can reduce stress levels.
Walking in the forest is a very popular activity in Japan. Shinrin-Yoku or forest bathing is not something new to Japanese people. Qing Li, an associate professor of Hygiene and Public Health and the president of the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine, is one of the world’s leader of Shinrin-Yoku. In 1982, he introduced the concept of forest bathing which has become a recognized relaxation and stress management activity in Japan and South Korea. Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, highlights the importance of connecting with nature and suggests that “one of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings”.
Climatotherapy is practice of using climatic and weather factors for disease treatment or improving health condition. People travel to specific geographic locations to spend time in the healthy climate with fresh sea, forest or mountain air. Climatotherapy is an alternative medicine with high positive result on human health without risk and side effects. Taking aerotherapy or an air bath is one of the climatotherapy treatments and is recognized as a medical practice for many diseases in a variety of European countries.
Take advantage of being outside and connecting with nature as much as possible! Enjoy the beauty and peace of the natural environment. Walk or play active games on the beach, hike or cycling on the green trails, climb mountains, or just do gardening. If you choose outside activities like hiking, cycling or mountains climb, make sure you prepare enough necessary food that can provide your body nutrition. Step outside into nature to do your workout in fresh air rather than inside, because it will help your body to clear lungs and relieve stress level. Deep breathing of fresh air will supply more oxygen to the blood. In addition to all aforementioned benefits for outside workout, they also offer the benefit of being free. Your workout will be more energetic due to wind, terrain type, and changes in elevation. Also, sand creates more resistance than when you run on paved roads. Kill two birds with one stone by combining your time being in a nature setting and doing exercises there.
Avoid jogging, running or cycling along the busy roads due to carbon dioxide emissions. Park or forest trails are the best places to be for these kinds of activities. Spend at least 20 minutes per day in a natural environment for improving your health and well-being. Connect with nature. Enjoy fresh air, breeze, and sunshine! Get energized, be healthy and happy!
Lidiya Gorodivska is a certified well-being travel specialist. She promotes health through travel and offers a variety of health and wellness vacation packages for travelers and works with wellness specialists who are interested in creating wellness vacation packages with their own unique programs. Also, she works with business owners and HR specialists who want to boost employees’ productivity and reduce their stress with wellness vacations.