Inviting The Outdoors In
This spring, many of us have started to refresh + clear through our homes. Cleaning + decluttering your home space offers a multitude of benefits. In addition to a deep spring cleaning, making sure to clear the air in your home regularly has an equally if not more beneficial impact to both your mental + physical health. Bringing fresh cut flowers and live plants + trees as beautiful accessories into your home space can also emphasize the benefits of fresh air. According to Nasa, some of the best indoor plants for clearing the air in your home of pollutants include:
“The snake plant can survive with dim light and sparse watering.” In addition to it’s ability to filter the air of formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene, “the snake plant is also among few houseplants known for producing oxygen at night. So, consider it for your bedroom.”
“If you’re somebody that loves flowers in the house, this is a great option. A peace lily produces fragrant flowers all summer long, and effectively removes ammonia, formaldehyde, trichlorobenzene, and benzene from the air. It grows best in shady areas and with the soil kept moist. Be careful though, as this plant can be toxic if eaten by children or pets”
“Red-Edged Dracaena is one of the most efficient plants at removing formaldehyde from the air in your home, as well as other VOCs, including benzene, trichloroethylene, and xylene. However, keep your pets away from this plant, as it can be toxic to animals when ingested…All you need to do to keep this plant alive, is keep it in an area with indirect sunlight and keep the soil slightly moist.”
Getting Up + Out(doors)
Beyond just clearing the air in your home, making time to be in nature is an added benefit that’s difficult to replicate. According to Erica Price, a certified therapeutic recreational specialist at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, "being outdoors in nature can be healing and beneficial for the body and mind…Whether at the beach, forest or in a neighborhood park, nature offers a calming effect.”
Just 15 minutes a day, spending time outdoors has a myriad of positive effects on your health. Even doing something as simple as relaxing outside can make a difference. According to Harvard Health Publishing, some of the strongest health benefits of spending time outdoors includes:
Vitamin D levels will increase
“Research suggests vitamin D may have protective effects against everything from osteoporosis to cancer to depression to heart attacks and stroke”
Mental Health will improve
Spending time outdoors as been closely linked with reducing stress, calming the nervous system and helping people to relax. This not only improves mental health, but also helps sleep quality. “Stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure, and brain activity” according to the NY Department of Environmental Conservation
Helps you to focus
“A study published in 2008 found that children with ADHD scored higher on a test of concentration after a walk through a park.”
Varied physical health benefits
From helping your body to heal faster after surgery or illness, to aiding against symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
Combining time spent outdoors, with physical activity. According to Price, “…when we combine nature with physical activity, it can help fight depression and anxiety."
Some of our favorite ways to get some fresh air are:
Take a walk or hike amongst nature
Look up hiking or walking trails nearby, take a walk in your neighborhood, walk your dog, or offer to walk a friends dog with them to make walking a more social activity. Trying to be present at times when your walking, rather than just immediately put in headphones, can also increase the benefits of your time spent outdoors.
Move your regular workout outdoors
From yoga, to outdoor resistance training + HIIT workouts, try using elements that already exist outside and incorporating them into your workout, or if you’re able to bring your exercise equipment outdoors to workout in the fresh air.
Whether during your hike, or if it’s on your patio or in your garden, meditation is a great way to be present and calm your nervous system.
Host a picnic
If socializing outdoors is more up your alley, look up a local park where you and friends can gather, or invite people over to your house and host a picnic in the garden.
Cover Photo Credit:
Instagram / @hendersonjayne