Three reasons to take a short break from your work and step outside

We’ll be honest.  Here in Monticello pretty much anywhere you turn on the compass, you’re going to run into a forest or possibly a lake.  The “Great Outdoors” is definitely on display here.  Additionally, being in charge of the Rental Center means that if we’re not outdoors with our customers or helping our customers or delivering to our customers, we’re outdoors working on our own business.  We’re blessed that way.  In fact, in a society that gives us more and more mobility (so many people are able to work from any location in the world) we are sometimes not cognizant of the fact that being outdoors isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity for that machine we call the human body.

We talk about equipment maintenance here, and as the sun shines this morning we thought we might take a variation of that theme and talk about human equipment maintenance via the outdoors!

Fresh Air

Now, we understand that some places don’t have the best air (see Exhibit A below)

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but apart from the really bad places, most times outside air is going to be healthier for you.  Why?

  • Being outdoors is itself a cue to “take a deep breath.”  As you take that deep breath, hold it, and then exhale, you feel better and often more relaxed.  Part of that is due to the influx of oxygen.  So much of the air we breath is “not-oxygen” that an intentional (and intense) intake of air, that happens to have oxygen in it, makes us feel better.  In fact, high oxygen levels have been known to enhance physical well-being and have been linked to better health.
  • Indoor air is recirculated.  Many of us work in offices, but the point is perhaps best driven home by visualizing plane rides, which recirculate a very compact amount of air.  Half of the air in an airplane comes in from outside (through the jet engines) and is cooled before being mixed with (get ready) our sweat, dead skin, gases, coughs, viruses, and bacteria.  Even those who aren’t “germophobic” might cringe.
  • To our first point, fresh air leads to more oxygenated blood.  More oxygenated blood leads to lower blood pressure and better circulation, as well as speeding the removal of waste from the bloodstream.  This makes  your body “flow” better and leads to easier and better sleep too!

Exercise

Now, some of you will see that word and get worried that we are advocating some kind of workout when you take an “outdoor break.”  Not at all.  We will tell you not to simply simulate your posture from indoors, that is, being seated in a comfortable position.  Take a walk, move around, move your limbs, stretch yourself.  Not everyone’s workplace/work area allows for this sort of movement, but within the space you can, you should try to move around.  There will be plenty of time to sit down for hours on end – take the time to move around and wake your body up.  You’ll go back to work with more energy!

Nature

As I’ve said above, not everyone lives in Monticello with lots of nature all around.  In fact, some of our readers may be looking at the picture we posted of the Los Angeles smogline and say, “Hey guys, that’s me!  What am I supposed to do?”  Fair enough.  We submit your break areas may not look like this:

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Or even like this:

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But whatever it may look like, you can enjoy the sunshine, the particular weather of the day, the flora and fauna around you, and that other part of nature – your co-workers!  Take the time to relax and get to know them.  Sometimes that can be hard, we know that!  But stepping outside for that short break is to refresh you from your work.  Part of that refreshment comes from breathing in good air and oxygenating your blood and clearing your head.  Part of that comes from walking around so that your limbs don’t think your only physical posture is sitting.  But one last part of that refreshment is stepping away from “work” for a moment and remembering individual people.  Asking about them and how they are doing and in that way you can gain insight, in some small way, as to why they work as hard as you do.