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3 Reasons Autumn Air Is Good For Your Immune System

Sep 17, 2020

Dr. Jeremy Hayman, ND

Dr. Jeremy Hayman, ND

NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR

Autumn is the time of year where the beauty of the changing seasons draws many of us to the outdoors. Despite the movement toward cooler weather, autumn offers a plethora of immune supportive benefits. Being outdoors in the fall has been shown to improve mood which has been directly proven to raise immune system functioning. The cooler autumn air also increases metabolism, increasing blood circulation thus activating immune health. Finally, fresh open autumn air, although cooler, lowers your chances you will pick up colds and flu’s that come with being indoors in close quarters instead.

As most of us have experienced, one of the best things about spending time outdoors is the sense of happiness and pleasure it brings; sun shining, beautiful coloured leaves, and fall breeze on your face. Thinking this is a simple result of a placebo effect, although pleasant, the mood elevating effects being outdoors has been well studied and proven that there is, in fact, validated science behind why you feel so good. For one, research shows a link between lower stress levels and being outdoors in nature. Green space significantly reduces the stress hormones cortisol, as well as boosts endorphin and dopamine production, all which promote happiness. So what’s the immune connection here? Chronic stress suppresses the immune system, while stress reduction and improved happiness elevate immune function, reduce inflammation and thus directly help the immune system work better.

With autumn comes cooler weather. Although many prefer warm and mild temperatures, science proves that there’s a direct immune system benefit to being outside in the cooler autumn air. Cooler temperatures encourage increased physical activity in order help us stay warmer while outside. The result? Physical activity encourages increased blood circulation, which not only helps keep your body warmer, but stimulates your metabolism to increase, both of which have been shown to aid and elevate immune system function. To top it off, even if physical activity isn’t your ‘thing’, simply being outside in the autumn air, if cool enough, causes your body to shiver (even mildly), which promotes similar effects on the immune system as like noted above.

For some, autumn is the last opportunity to spend time outdoors before the cold winter weather sets in. As autumn quickly approaches winter, more time spent outside allows more opportunity to avoid the germs and viruses associated with being inside during the cold chilly months ahead. It’s well observed that colds and flu’s are more easily passed on with more time spent indoors and in close quarters. The more time you spend outside (even in colder weather), the more fresh open air you will experience, and the less chance you will be victim of picking up that nasty cold or flu. So what’s the message here? Get outside, enjoy the autumn weather, build your immune system and reap the benefits of better health!

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