Vitamin N Deficiency

Mar 12, 2015 by | lifestyle

A recent study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that Americans spend an average of 93% of their life indoors. When I read this statistic I was not only shocked, but also hoped the percentage in Canada would be significantly higher. I was dismayed to discover that according to the Health Canada, Canadians spend an average of 90% of their time indoors. Spending so much of our time inside has huge implications on our health and wellbeing.

People often think that spending time outdoors in the winter when its cold and wet is the reason we get colds and flus. False. The real reason we get sick more often in the winter is because we spend more of our time indoors where we are exposed to higher concentrations of airborne pollutants including viruses and bacteria. An EPA indoor air study found that "concentrations of some pollutants are often 2-5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations." Many people are beginning to believe that Canadians are suffering from a condition referred to as "nature deficient disorder." This disconnection from nature is the reason many of us suffer from conditions such as depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and adrenal fatigue.

There is a growing base of empirical evidence that shows how contact with nature has a positive affect on the human body. Many studies have found that even a walk in the woods can alleviate mental fatigue, strengthen the immune system and lower blood pressure. Not only are personal connections with the natural world extremely powerful but getting outside and moving for as little as 5 minutes a day has been proven to increase both mood and self esteem. Aside from positively impacting mood regulation, spending time outdoors nurtures creativity and increases our sense of wellbeing. Recent findings have discovered that people exposed to nature recovered more quickly from surgery, required less medication and had shorter overall hospital stays. Living in Vancouver we are fortunate to have access to so many outdoor parks and trails right at our doorstep. Whether it's 5 minutes or an hour of your day, lets all commit to spending more of our time outside to not only appreciate the natural beauty of the west coast but also feel happier!

"In spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt" – Margaret Atwood

References:

Maller, C., Townsend, M., Pryor, A., Brown, P. and St Leger, S. 2005. Healthy nature healthy people: 'contact with nature' as an upstream health promotion interven- tion for populations. Health Promotion International 21(1): 45–54.

Mooney, P. and Nicell, P. 1992. The impor- tance of exterior environments for Alzheimer residents: effective care and risk management. Healthcare Management Forum 5(2): 23–29.

Pretty, J., Peacock, J., Sellens, M. and Griffin, M. 2005. The mental and physical health outcomes of green exercise. International Journal of Environmental Health Research 15(5): 319–337.

http://cfpub.epa.gov/eroe/index.cfm?fuseaction=list.listBySubTopic&ch=46&s=343

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/air/in/index-eng.php