Fresh Air makes you feel better?

So, due to the inclimental weather outside, I spent most of today indoors. I felt tired, lethargic, had the chills and was generally quite yucky. I’m relatively certain there’s nothing wrong with me, but when I finally decided to brave the elements and take a walk outside, I felt leaps and bounds better.

People always say that fresh air makes you feel better, that such and such is “a breath of fresh air,” but is there anything to it? Is it just the lack of stink, or is there a reason why air in the house should make me feel less good than the crisp cold stuff from outside? What’s so bad about re-circulated air, anyway?

Inside air is almost invariably more polluted than outside air. Dust, mold spores, bits of this and that, CO2, various gases, etc. are all more concentrated indoors. If your house isn’t cleaned and ventilated well, the problem will be worse.

Good question. I would like to add to the question:

Is there a psychological aspect to “getting some air” that makes people feel better, or is the air quality the only thing affecting your mood?

I don’t think its the “outsideness” of it per se, I think it has to do with cooler weather – after all if you are sick and go outside and it is really hot and humid you will generally still feel terrible despite the fresh air. Instead of less sick you feel sick+sweaty.

Cool weather is cooling on a slight fever, and it is a lot less uncomfortable to move around; moving around stimulates circulation, which helps with residual congestion, muscle aches, swollen joints, etc.

Psychologically it puts you in the mindset of “I am feeling better” especially if you were quite sick and didn’t have much strength to get up before. You are noticing an improvement in your condition, even if you’re not 100% better.

There are three factors:

  1. as dangermom mentioned, better air quality
  2. for many of us, going outside involves some form of mild exercise
  3. many people are somewhat claustrophobic; for these, there is a positive psychological effect. For those who are somewhat agoraphobic (or radically so), the psychological effect is negative.

I get a headache if I stay inside all day - it is cleared up in minutes by going outside. I don’t know why this is. It has been the same all my adult life, regardless of the house I lived in. Maybe it is the exercise - if I’m outside, I at least walked there, instead of sitting on my ass inside.