The Benefits of Breathing in Fresh Air (2024)

Getting fresh air helps boost your immune system, reduce exposure to indoor air pollution, cleanse your lungs, improve heart and brain health, elevate your mood, and promote better sleep.

Kids today spend seven hours more on academics and two hours less on sports and outdoor activities per week than 20 years ago. Then, everyone stayed home due to the pandemic, and people spent even less time outdoors. This shows how necessary indoor air quality testing is to ensure your home’s indoor air quality is safe.

If you and your family need reasons to get outdoors, here are a few that will pull you away from screens and toward your back patio.

Boosts Your Immune System

Even during summer, getting a case of the sniffles is easy. Help to fight them off with the power of fresh air. It helps your immune system to fight off disease more effectively due to healthier white blood cells. It also supplies your immune system with the oxygen it needs to kill and destroy bacteria, viruses, and germs. Breathing in stale air will not provide your body with enough oxygen to keep your cells fueled and functioning properly.

Getting outdoors and breathing fresh air boosts your immune system by improving circulation, bringing more oxygenated blood and nutrients to your cells.

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Exposure to sunlight triggers your body to produce vitamin D, which regulates immune function. Just 30 minutes outdoors can make a difference.

Less Pollution

Whether exercising outdoors or letting the fresh air into your home, natural ventilation is healthier than breathing stale air indoors. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air in the United States is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Fresh air contains negative ions, which are known to improve a sense of well-being.

Outdoor air tends to have lower levels of pollutants like dust, dander, mold, chemicals from household cleaners, and emissions from stoves and heating systems. Of course, outdoor air quality depends on your location. Places with significant vehicle exhaust or industrial pollution may be exceptions. But for most areas, your outdoor air is less contaminated overall.

Cleans Your Lungs

Breathing that fresh air in and out not only feels great but also benefits your lungs. It helps the airways of your lungs to dilate more fully and improves the cleansing action of your lungs.

Deep breathing outdoors gives your lungs an intensive cleansing workout. The oxygen-rich air helps clear mucus and tar deposits from your lungs left over from indoor pollutants. This “lung washing effect” rids your respiratory system of toxins so you can breathe more easily.

Improves Heart Health

Being outside and getting some air straight from the great outdoors helps to improve both blood pressure and heart rate due to the decrease in pollution, providing you with better overall heart health. Stale and dirty air forces the body to work harder to get the proper amount of oxygen it needs.

The fresh air outdoors gives your cardiovascular system a break from working overtime. Your heart doesn’t have to pump as hard when your lungs take in clean, nourishing oxygen. A refreshing outdoor walk reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and resting heart rate.

Boosts Brain Health

You’re breathing in more oxygen while out in the fresh air. When your brain gets more oxygen, it can function more efficiently. It brings greater clarity and improved concentration.

More oxygen to the brain contributes to better cognitive function, including enhanced memory, learning, and focus. Getting outside also stimulates feel-good endorphins that reduce stress. This combination helps you think more clearly.

Improves Mood

Breathing in fresh outdoor air naturally improves your outlook and mental health. The combination of sunshine, negative ions, reduced pollution, and endorphins from being active outdoors elevates your mood.

Studies show that getting outside for as little as 20–30 minutes per day significantly reduces feelings of tension, anger, depression, and other negative emotions. The positive effects can last for hours after you go back inside. Make outdoor time part of your daily self-care routine for a natural mood boost.

Most people do not get the 7–9 hours of quality sleep they need each night. Getting outside and soaking in that fresh air during the day can help you snooze more soundly after the sun goes down.

Exposure to sunlight helps maintain your circadian rhythm so your body prepares for rest as bedtime nears. The vitamin D you generate from the sun also regulates healthy sleep. And the physical activity outdoors leaves you pleasantly fatigued. The fresh air effect combines to make falling asleep easier and get higher quality rest, which increases your energy levels during the day.

So, Is Fresh Air Really That Beneficial?

Absolutely. Breathing fresh outdoor air benefits nearly every part of your health; it boosts your immune system, cardiovascular function, cognition, mood, and sleep quality. It reduces the negative impacts of pollution, allergens, and other irritants you encounter indoors. Getting outside for even a short time rejuvenates your mind and body, and improving indoor air quality is essential for all the time you spend indoors. There’s a reason taking in a big gulp of fresh air feels so reinvigorating. 

If getting outside frequently is difficult for you or a family member, talk to your HVAC service provider about reviewing your home’s fresh air ventilation system.

FAQs About Fresh Air

Should I open my windows to let in fresh air?

Yes, cracking your windows open periodically provides natural ventilation that exchanges stale indoor air for fresh outdoor air. Doing this helps reduce odors, humidity, and contaminants inside your home. Make sure your windows have tight-fitting insect screens. Also, familiarize yourself with how to prevent and remove mold growth in your home.

How long should I spend outside to get the benefits of fresh air?

Studies show that just 20–30 minutes outdoors significantly reduces stress and boosts mood. Aim for at least 30 minutes of fresh air daily to get the physical health benefits. Early morning and late afternoon are best to avoid intense midday heat and sun exposure.

Which outdoor activities provide the most significant benefits?

Any activity outdoors where you breathe deeply provides fresh air benefits. But light to moderate exercise like walking gives an extra boost by pumping your circulation. Yardwork and gardening are great fresh air activities. Exercising outdoors maximizes the impacts.

Should I avoid outside time if the air quality is poor?

Use common sense based on air quality alerts in your area. It’s still better to get outside than stay in, but limit intense outdoor exercise on days with heavy pollution. Focus instead on lighter activities or spending time in green spaces away from traffic and factories.

Is cold outdoor air bad to breathe?

No. Breathing in that brisk, chilly air provides an extra shot of invigoration as your body works to warm the air in your lungs. Dress warmly and get outside for some energizing fresh air all winter long.

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Reviewed for accuracy, cost data, industry best practices, and expert advice by Jonathon Jachura.

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