During their childhood, most people had been told not to open the windows in the wintertime because it will “let the cold in.” Though this idea is supported by some fact, science has actually proven that “letting the cold in” can be a good thing.
What are the benefits of opening the windows in the winter, then?
- It removes indoor pollutants.
- It brings in more oxygen.
- The cold air boosts immunity.
These three benefits are enough to make you totally reconsider your wintertime household habits. Read on to find out why you should open your windows the next time it gets chilly.
1. Opening Windows Removes Indoor Pollutants
Consider all of the supplies, chemicals, and unnatural substances you use on your body throughout your day. Think about how many kinds of soaps you use, from those on your face and body to those on your hands and dishes – can you name any of the ingredients in them? If you wear makeup or style your hair, consider what sorts of ingredients are in your blush, lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara, as well as hairspray and gel.
Even if you think you lead a completely “natural” life, with plant-based cosmetics, natural body-care products, and biodegradable cleaners, there are still nefarious chemicals lurking in your home.
Think of the paint on your walls – do you really know what it is made out of? There’s probably bleach or other corrosive cleaners under your sink, too. Have you seen the warning labels on those bottles? Even inside of your television, there are corrosive and toxic substances that shouldn’t be handled by untrained people. These substances can all be classified as “indoor air pollutants.”
These indoor air pollutants are materials that collect in the home and have the potential to harm you if ingested or inhaled in varying quantities. These substances are extremely hard to cut out of your life – you still need paint on your walls, and you still want to watch television. So, how can you lower the risk of inhalation of indoor air pollutants?
The article from Science Reporter suggests that aside from limiting the use of toxic cleaning supplies and replacing them with natural alternatives such as baking soda and vinegar, opening the windows could be one of the most effective ways of combating air pollutants in the home.
Especially in the wintertime, when most people keep their doors and windows shut, it’s important to let these household pollutants out. Make sure you’re not keeping potential toxins trapped inside while you’re cranking the heat.
2. Opening Windows Brings in More Oxygen
There are few things nicer than a deep breath of clean, fresh air, especially when you live in an area with plentiful forests and trees. What makes these deep breaths so energizing is the element of oxygen, also known as O2.
Oxygen is essential to living life. It is the element that allows us to breathe, think, and exist. Without oxygen, we would die within minutes – that’s why oxygen tanks and masks are some of the most important supplies at hospitals, clinics, and even on airplanes in case of emergencies.
According to a research, increased oxygen intake can prevent headaches as well as boost your energy. On the other hand, limited oxygen intake can result in labored breathing, impaired thinking, and even brain damage. Because we are so accustomed to being able to breathe easily, we often forget that living in close quarters can cut off our oxygen intake.
Though negative symptoms are unlikely to occur within the average home just because you keep the windows closed, it is still important to increase daily oxygen intake. One of the easiest ways to increase oxygen consumption is by opening the windows. Plants such as trees absorb carbon dioxide (the chemical we let out of our bodies when we exhale), and they turn it into oxygen, which is why breathing feels so much nicer when we take walks out in the forest.
Even though it may be chilly outside, take just a few minutes to turn off the heat and open the windows. This will allow new, fresh air to come into your home and old stale air to leave, giving you more oxygen to breathe. Just make sure to bundle yourself up – opt for comfortable layers with a fleece-lined jacket and pants, as well as a hat that covers the ears.
3. Cold Air Boosts Immunity
Most of us associate cold weather with an increased risk of colds and the flu. We have this vision that going out into the winter weather will leave us with a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, and pesky cough. That’s what our parents were told when they were kids, and that’s what they passed on to us.
What would you think if I told you that cold can actually be good for your health? Though it may surprise you, there is science to suggest that breathing in cold air and exposing your body to a controlled amount of chill can actually activate the immune system. The immune system is a broad term for the body’s ability to fight off diseases, illnesses, and viruses, and helps us stay healthy when we become exposed to germs.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, it is thought that exposing people to small-to-moderate amounts of cold outdoor air can help boost the immune system. According to one of their articles, it’s been proven that people who grow up with more exposure to nature (and, therefore, outdoor air) have greater immune systems and are generally better in health.
This study was conducted by comparing the health and immune systems of children who played outside in the cold against those who majorly stayed indoors during the cold season.
Other research suggests that exposure to cold weather encourages the body to burn fat. In a study conducted by Harvard University, cold weather was shown to stimulate what is called brown fat. In the body, there are two kinds of fat: white fat and brown fat.
The white variety of fat is what people often try to get rid of when they lose weight. White fat is majorly used as insulation for the body, but also plays a major role in storing energy in the body. In comparison, brown fat plays a big role in keeping the body warm. It also has the potential to help burn off the other white kind of fat.
According to that Harvard Study, because of this activation of brown fat, cold weather has the potential to help you control weight. This isn’t to say that you should keep the windows open at all times if you want to lose weight. However, it is something to think about when you’re considering your health during the wintertime.
There are several important benefits to opening the windows during the wintertime. Even though it may seem like you are wasting heat, opening the windows is important for the health of you and your household. By opening windows, you may be able to get rid of air pollutants such as hazardous built-up chemicals.
Opening the windows also has other health benefits. By opening the windows to your home, you are allowing a greater circulation of air, which delivers more oxygen into your living space. You also may be able to boost your immunity and health by exposing yourself to a controlled amount of cold. I hope these tips help you feel informed about your household choices this winter.