Indoor or Outdoor? A Choice for Your Health

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While many children books portray the realm of kids as a never-ending adventure that leads them to explore new things, add exceptional memories to their lives, and give them the means of being creative, reality hits us with a different story about a generation confined to four walls, staring at screens for hours without even moving a muscle.

Even during summer, the season of free time that could be spent doing whatever they like with no assignments to devour their time, has unfortunately become the same. Adding to that, the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted hanging-out, social gatherings, and spending time outdoors. Children now seem to be stuck with no option of getting fresh air or sunlight while feeling safe.

If you belong to the indoor generation with no deep understanding of what you are missing, this article is for you.

Lockdown Health Risks

With a quick look at what spending too much time indoor deprives you of, we find that it prevents you from getting sunlight that helps calibrate your body’s circadian clock, which is responsible for regulating appetite, sleep, mood, and energy levels. While not getting enough sunlight, the circadian clock gets disrupted, resulting in sleep instability, which is linked directly to a reduced immune system response.

It is not only about not getting enough sunlight, but it also extends to missing time in the natural environment, which helps boost your vitality by nearly 40%, as experiments show. Moreover, more researches link good mood, reduced sensation of pain, and milder symptoms of attention-related disorders in kids, to spending time outdoors, which also has a role in helping them focus more and relax.

In addition to the abovementioned benefits, getting exposed to sunlight encourages the production of Vitamin D in the skin, in response to UVB exposure, which is beneficial to strengthen our bones and teeth, and also has a significant effect on our immune cells. Also, Vitamin D enables the first line of defense against respiratory infections that kills bacteria and viruses directly.

Engaging with Nature

Now, let us move on to nature and how you can benefit from spending time in it. Can you believe that spending time among trees can affect your immune system directly? Scientists in Japan have proposed that the inhalation of substances called phytoncides, which are released by trees, may contribute to increasing the number and activity of our immune cells that help in detecting and destroying viruses and cancer cells.

Moreover, engaging with nature lowers heartrates and blood pressure, and helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and early death.

A Cautious and Effective Way

Yes, the pandemic has pushed us to spend most of our time indoor; yet, there are still some ways to go out and absorb all the benefits of sunlight and engage with nature. The virus spreads mainly via respiratory droplets released from the infected person through coughing, sneezing, talking, or singing, and that cannot deprive you of the enjoyment of walking, running, biking, fishing, and fitness classes held outside.

To get the benefits of the outdoors while staying safe, here are the precautions you need:

  • Keep at least one meter away from other people;
  • Wear a face mask near others;
  • Wash your hands frequently and pack a hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid peak times and crowded settings.

In short, do not spare the chance of going outside and get the whole package of those benefits. Just leave your smartphone and get some fresh air to feel the immediate enhancing effects.

Reference

time.com

unicef.org

bbc.com

Cover image: 

People photo created by teksomolika - www.freepik.com

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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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