There is nothing I love more about the first signs of spring than knowing I get to spend my free time at a park, basking in the sunshine. Spending time outdoors makes me feel so at peace, one with nature, care-free and above all, healthy. There are so many benefits to spending time outdoors that people aren’t even aware of because of convenient technologies and indoor facilities that soak up free time. An article from the National Wildlife Federation explains that the average American child spends as little as 30 minutes outside each day. Child obesity rates have doubled and the U.S. has become the leader in prescribing ADHD and depression medications because they are missing that vital connection to the green world.
I remember when I was a young child, it took all my willpower to listen to my mother to return inside after dark. I wanted to play outside with my sister and neighbors all day long, never wanting to return to the boring house. Today, when I start feeling the stress of school or peer relationships, the first thing I do is drive to a park so I can walk around and breathe deep instead of taking my frustration out on other people.
The green outdoors doesn’t just have to be limited to walking around and staring at the trees. You can meditate, go on a run or a jog, take a friend to a picnic and even bird watch if that’s your thing. My dog loves when I tell her we’re going on a walk because she knows she can sniff around for a good hour or two and investigate the mysterious smells of other animals while I inhale the fresh air and finally get a break from my computer or television screen. Go to the beach, go to a zoo, a park, a walk down the street or wherever you prefer that’s outside with someone you love because face-to-face communication is lacking in today’s world and being outside is a great way to reconnect.
Lately I’ve been surrounded by people who have been sneezing, coughing, losing their voices, vomiting or weak from a fever. I have always had a weak immune system because I have several autoimmune diseases so I was surprised to find myself in pretty good shape this entire week. If you find yourself getting sick, try and quarantine yourself from others you recognize with cold or flu symptoms (it’s often hard to tell the difference between the two). Both can be treated with medicine to shorten the time spent sick but once the cold or flu has started, there’s nothing more to do than temporarily mask the symptoms and ride it out.
Experts say that Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients. It protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and even skin wrinkling. It may not cure the cold or flu but if you eat enough fruits and vegetables or take an additional supplement to get the recommended daily 500 mg, Vitamin C can play a large role in keeping you out of your bed and on top of your daily life. If you don’t prefer straight fruits or vegetables, visit www.smoothieweb.com for over 500 healthy, multi-purpose smoothies.
I’m sure everyone could feel this one coming but exercising daily is a great preventative to battle the cold, flu or fatigue. Exercise not only helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections, it decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. Physical activity can help by flushing bacteria out of the lungs (preventing cold, flu and other airborne illnesses) and prevent cancer-causing cells by increasing output of wastes, like urine and sweat. Read more…
Last but certainly not least, your water intake is the key to any aspect of your physical health. The average human body is comprised of 50-65% of water; mental performance and physical coordination start to become impaired after about 1% dehydration. Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues: the main tissues affected by a cold. For more information on the cold, flu or any health-related topics discussed above, visit mayoclinic.org or webmd.com.