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Fresh Air and Sunshine

It’s been a long, cold winter.  Ice storms.  Snow storms.  Record lows.  Record highs.  Cabin fever has set in and the rounds of tonsilitis, strep throat, flu, bronchitis, ear infections and other minor ailments have taken their toll.

Today, though, I felt the first stirrings of hope.   The sun was shining, the sky was brilliantly blue and dotted with lovely white, puffy clouds, the birds were singing and I was sick of being cooped up.  So, I decided to take advantage of the unusually warm February morning.  I stoically ignored the hacking coughs that seized my lungs, threw on my tennies and headed out for a walk.


The first block was great.  Liberating.  Invigorating.

The second block I don’t remember, lost, as it was, in fits of hacking coughs that made my already-sore lungs spasm and scream in pain.

The third block was traversed in a daze as I struggled to catch my breath and concentrate on the lovely day.

The fourth block was heaven.  The pain began to recede from my chest and the coughing was gone.  I could finally breathe again and for the first time in a week I could actually smell.

So, I kept going.  As I walked I thought about the beauty of nature, the complexity of the world around me and the amazing resiliency of the human body and spirit.  The more I walked, the better I felt and the deeper my thoughts went.  Eventually, they settled on a train of thought that I couldn’t get away from.

Why is it that when we get sick, we tend to want to huddle under the covers and shut the world out?  Why do we run to the doctor or pharmacy at the first sign of sniffles, down the (un)magical pill and expect instant relief?  Why do we bundle ourselves up and insist that all we need is a little more rest while our windows are shut tight against the fresh air and sunshine that lend themselves to healing our bodies?

I suppose, before I go any further, I should clarify.  I’m not suggesting we run out half dressed in a snow storm.  If that’s what you were contemplating after reading the first few paragraphs of this post, you are obviously of lower-than-average intelligence and have no business thinking on your own.

No, what I’m talking about is simply this:  Sometimes, all our body needs to kick out the last of those stored-up winter germs is an hour or two of fresh air and sunshine.  A walk around the block to get the blood pumping.  A trip around the yard picking up the sticks and debris that winter has left behind.  A picnic lunch in the back yard.

Forget for a minute what you’ve heard about too much exposure to the sun.  Pretend for an instant what the Medical-Powers-That-Be have drilled into us about exposure to the sun causing skin cancer and other various illnesses.  Instead, focus on reality.  This article might help get you in the proper frame of mind.  It has some great info, as does this one.

Did you read them?   Are you a little aggravated that the medical establishment has hoodwinked you?  You should be.  Especially if you have ever had an encounter with cancer.  You should be so spitting mad that you’re ready to stage a protest outside your local doctor’s office complete with rotten eggs and a bottle of 95 SPF lotion.

Let’s get past the anger, though.  It’s damaging to your health.  Instead, since we’ve got a general idea of the benefits of time spent in the sun, let’s look at some benefits of giving your body a bit of fresh air to go with that sunshine.

This article gives a simple explanation.  Let me simplify it even further.  Fresh air helps clear the lungs of all the dust and germs that we breath in as we sit in our home or office and delivers much-needed oxygen to our cells so that they are capable of functioning properly.   Yes, I know you nearly cough up a lung every time you breath in that fresh air, but that’s a good sign.  It means the fresh air is doing what it’s supposed to.  It is clearing out all that nastiness and paving the way for an oxygen-inducing experience like none other!

Still not convinced?  I can spin this however you’d like me to, but instead I’ll simply direct you to a few more articles that discuss the benefits of both fresh air and sunshine.

Depressed?  Got Eczema?  Insomia?  Acne?  Cancer?  Check out this article.

Migraines?  Check out this article.

So, now that I’ve taken away all your well-thought-out excuses for remaining inside, go take a walk.  I did.  Amazingly enough, after a nearly 2 mile walk I feel great.  My legs are a little sore, but now, 2 hours later, my cough has yet to return and I can still smell.  Everything.  Which is why my windows are open, my heat is turned off and I’m seriously contemplating a good house-cleaning!

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