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Updated: Jan 14, 2023

NEWSTART stands for Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunlight, Temperance, Air, Rest, and Trust. It is a scientifically researched lifestyle change program based on eight principles proven to help you achieve optimum health.

Today's topic is Air

We live in a sea of Air, but we can't see it! It's like living under the ocean without knowing it.

Medical science tells us that permanent brain damage begins after only 4 minutes without oxygen, and death can occur as soon as 4 to 6 minutes later. Clearly, air is very, very important! Be safe, enjoy fresh air and don't forget to get your CPR knowledge refreshed at least once a year. It can save the lives of your loved ones and strangers.

So what is air? Air is a mixture of different gases, 78% nitrogen, 21%oxygen and 1% of small amounts of other gases e.g. carbon dioxide, neon, and hydrogen.

While air is mostly gas, it carries other small particles such as pollen, dust, soot and other particles from car exhaust and power plants. These are major contributors to air pollution.

Fun fact: Did you know that even on a very still day, the air around us is always moving? But when a big wind comes, that air can really go! The fastest gust of wind ever recorded on Earth was 253 miles per hour. And as the wind picks up seeds and dust and other particles, it can carry them miles away from their original home!

That said, how can we harness the power of fresh air in perimenopause and menopause

Tip #1 Improve the quality of Air indoors

While it's probably not possible to eliminate all the allergens inside your home, you can reduce the number — and your exposure to them — by making some simple changes. Here's how:

Keep it clean.

A clean house is a healthier house, it cuts down dust and animal dander. focus your cleaning efforts on reducing the accumulation of pet dander, mould and dust. Vacuum your carpets and rugs at least twice a week with a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter. Opting for hard surfaces instead of wall-to-wall carpeting may also cut down on allergens in the home.

Regularly clean bedding, drapes and other items that tend to attract allergens—particularly if you have pets at 60 degrees celsius or more. If you have drapes, consider ditching them to allow more sunlight into your home) see benefits of sunlight in menopause . Also consider using dust mite–proof covers on pillows, as well as mattresses and box springs, whenever possible.
Clear clutter; it traps and holds dust
Address your indoor plants, they can collect and foster the growth of mould. So, if indoor allergens are a problem, you'll want to avoid them

Tip # 2 Naturally increase the amount. of oxygen available to your body

Remember, 20% of the oxygen you breathe in is used by your brain to function. So increasing the amount of fresh air you breathe can provide greater clarity to the brain, promoting optimal function whilst helping you to think, focus and concentrate better. Enjoy breathing!

Tip #3 Get out and enjoy nature

Create opportunities to enjoy the fresh clean outdoor air
Get as much fresh outdoor air as you can. Walk, jog, run, picnic, forest bathe, go to the beach, swim, sit and relax on your porch, take a stroll after a meal... you get it, It's free, enjoy it!

Tip#4 Practice Deep breathing

Deep breathing, (sometimes called diaphragmatic breathing) is a practice that enables more air to flow into your body which in turn helps with mental clarity, energy and sense of well-being, alertness, reduced stress, anxiety and pain levels.

Diaphragmatic breathing technique (sitting on a chair)

1. Sit comfortably, with your knees bent and your shoulders, head and neck relaxed.
2. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
3. Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.
4. Tighten your stomach muscles, so that your stomach moves back in, as you exhale through pursed lips. The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.

Diaphragmatic breathing technique (Lying down)

When you first learn the diaphragmatic breathing technique, it may be easier for you to follow the instructions lying down.
1. Lie on your back on a flat surface or in bed, with your knees bent and your head supported. You can use a pillow under your knees to support your legs.
2. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
3. Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out, causing your hand to rise. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.
4. Tighten your stomach muscles, so that your stomach moves in, causing your hand to lower as you exhale through pursed lips (see "Pursed Lip Breathing Technique"). The hand on your upper chest should remain as still as possible

Tip #5 Do it the oftener!

Practice this exercise for 5-10 minutes about 3-4 times a day. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend doing this exercise, and perhaps even increase the effort of the exercise by placing a book on your abdomen.

Finally: As with learning anything new, the first few times you practice diaphragmatic breathing, it may be difficult. Take a couple of minutes each day to practice this new skill, which offers many benefits to your overall health and can help you relax. If you have a condition like COPD, asthma or anxiety, talk to your provider about diaphragmatic breathing to see if it’s right for you.

The next blog will go into more detail on the benefits of fresh air.

But for now, remember, serotonin release is affected by the amount of oxygen you have in your blood. Serotonin promotes a sense of happiness and well-being so the more fresh air you have will help to significantly boost your mood. This is often why you feel better, more relaxed and much more refreshed after being outside! Till the next blog,

Be happy!

So, Ladies, practice diagrammatic breathing, maintain an erect posture and enjoy a happy, healthier, longer life!

Your homework: Inhale very slowly through your nose for 5 seconds: 1-2-3-4-5. Exhale very slowly through your nose or mouth for 5 seconds: 1-2-3-4-5. Wait for 5 seconds: 1-2-3-4-5. Repeat the process three more times (1 minute total). Do you feel calmer? This is a quick way to feel calmer in stressful situations.

Dr Purity Carr is a GP and Menopause Doctor in Harvey, Western Australia
The next blog on the NEWSTART series is health benefits of fresh air. Don't miss it!
Don't forget to leave comments on how this series of NEWSTART is helping you. It will encourage others!
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