Fresh air poses health benefits


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You all know the old saying: “April showers bring May flowers.” With Earth Day on April 22 and warm weather on the rise, as our countless assignments and responsibilities try to keep us inside, it is important to remember to take some time for yourself and get some fresh air.

We all have ways of dealing with stress, but one method that helps me is stepping outside and taking in some good ol’ O2. Sometimes walking away from a problem is the best thing to do to cool down, and what better way than taking an actual walk and observing the scenery? The scents of flowers like lavender and jasmine have been known to lower anxiety, and the aroma of pine can increase relaxation. According to Richard Ryan, researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, spending time in fresh air energizes 90 percent of people, and nature is “fuel for the soul.”

Research also suggests that spending time outdoors can boost your immune system if you find yourself in a position where being cooped up with hundreds of people is commonplace. Close quarters expose high schoolers and adults alike to a plethora of potential germs. Ather Ali–ND, MPH, assistant director of Complementary/Alternative Medicine Research at Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center–stated in an interview with that physical activity outdoors increases immune function by building increased stores of white blood cells, such as natural killer cells and monocytes.

Lastly, taking time to smell the roses is a great way to keep your spirits high as the school year draws to a close. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that all your hard work was worth it as you stroll through the park or sprint through a field. It is important to take care of yourself as you prepare for the next step of your life, and there is no simpler way than utilizing the life-giving gift of Mother Earth.