The Unexpected Effects Fresh Air Has On Your Health

There's nothing like a breath of fresh air to revitalize the mind and body. After a long day spent sitting at your office desk, getting out into the sunshine and clean air can be — quite literally — a much-needed change of scenery. Not only is a warm breeze pleasant and refreshing, but science says it can boost our mental and physical health in some unique and surprising ways.

As it turns out, fresh air can positively impact nearly every system in the body. According to guides at Terrapin Adventures, time spent outdoors can improve blood pressure, decrease rates of obesity, strengthen family relationships, and boost immunity, heart health, and digestive function. Not only that, but fresh air can also improve our breathing.

But the physical benefits don't stop there. According to Foothills Academy, an educational institution providing support and advocacy to youth with learning disabilities and their families, the physical benefits of outdoor activity include improvements in sleep quality, motor skills development, eye health, bone health, and energy levels.

How fresh air can boost mental health

The benefits of fresh air seem to be infinite. A 2021 study conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development found that spending time outdoors can improve mood and is positively linked to structural brain changes that may influence the treatment of mental health disorders. Co-author of the study Anna Mascherek comments on these findings, saying, "These findings provide neuroscientific support for the treatment of mental disorders. Doctors could prescribe a walk in the fresh air as part of the therapy — similar to what is customary for health cures."

Additionally, according to Foothills Academy, fresh air may be especially beneficial for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as it can lessen symptoms in both youth and adults.

Lastly, fresh air may even have health benefits that can improve finances for students and educators. A 2013 study discovered that increasing ventilation from the outdoors into school classrooms resulted in reduced rates of student absences from sickness. Authors of the study explain that the benefits can go beyond illness reduction, and could save families "an estimated $80 million in caregiver costs due to having a sick child at home."

All in all, the benefits that fresh air can offer for our physical and mental health — not to mention our wallets — are reason enough to open a window or get outside whenever we can.