The beauty of working from home is that I can work in my pajamas; however, it also means I spend a significant amount of time indoors, often in my bedroom, office or hotel room, without opening a door or window for days. Those of you who play poker full time, are likely nodding in agreement.
I listened to a lecture on the topic of air quality by Joshua Rosenthal at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition recently, who reminded us that, "We can go weeks without food, days without water, but only a matter of seconds without oxygen." This made me realize that a lot of attention is placed on eating well and drinking more water for optimum health, but what about the quality of our number one, most immediate, vital requirement for survival?
There’s no denying that when you visit a beach or forest, or when you wake up in your own city at sunrise while the air is fresh, there is an instant attraction to the clean air that you take in. Rosenthal explained that when he moved to a region that was dense with thousands upon thousands of trees, he noticeably began to feel smarter. His ideas poured through with clarity, and he became more productive. So perhaps the concept of having a “foggy head” could very well be connected to the fog you’re breathing through that head.
Heavy pollution is an issue in large cities around the world because it decreases the oxygen levels in the air we breathe. However, according to an estimate released by the Environmental Protection Agency, people spend 90% of their time indoors, and that indoor air quality can actually be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air.
According to the NSW Department of Health, air pollution can have a negative effect on the respiratory (lungs and airways) and cardiovascular (heart function and blood circulation) systems. When it comes to everyday activity (which is poker for many of you), it could also be negatively affecting your game. We invest many hours into perfecting our skills at the table, but it's easy to forget about the core basics, such as a good, quality environment, to assist in maximizing our potential.
So, if that sounds like you, then here are some tips on how to improve oxygen intake and the air quality in your indoor space, with many of them thanks to the American Lung Association.
- Get Outside — Before you sit at your computer, or leave for the office, spend some time outside. As little as five minutes standing on your balcony or door step, breathing in the fresh air deeply as you wake up, can set you up for a great day.
- Exercise — It increases your lung capacity. If you are a gym-goer, then you’ll be familiar with the feeling of the thick air inside most gyms. When you can, opt for working out in a park instead of inside a sweaty gym. Dr. John Medina at Brainrules.net explained, “Exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain, which reduces brain-bound free radicals. One of the most interesting findings of the past few decades is that an increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness.” So keep that in mind next time you think you don't have time to exercise!
- Open Up — Quit sitting in the darkness and open up those doors and windows, allowing a circulation of new air (the air-conditioner doesn’t count). If you live in a highly polluted city, then perhaps skip the open doors and windows and opt for plants. All homes should have some leafy plants. Apart from looking pretty, they do a fine job at exchanging air with you.
- De-Pollute — Don’t allow smoking indoors, and reduce the amount of chemicals used around the house. Dust the house and clean curtains and carpets regularly.
- Remove Excess Moisture — if you live in a humid environment, or your space lacks decent ventilation (particularly in the kitchen and bathroom), invest in an air purifier to remove the moisture. Moisture creates dampness, mold and mildew, which can all lead to health issues in the lungs.
- Drink Water — This is the answer to almost everything, and seeing that our bodies are made up of 80% water, it’s obvious why. Water is part oxygen, so drink up.
- Invest in a Negative Ion Generator, or preferably a Salt Rock Lamp — With all of the technology we’ve got going in our homes and offices, we’re sitting (and sleeping) amongst a frightening amount of electrical radiation. These devices send off negative ions to counterbalance the positive ions emitted from the electronics. That aside, they have a way of bringing the freshness of a forest into your home.
- Fresh Air To-Go — If your local poker room is stuffy, or perhaps smoky, then handheld, battery-operated devices like the Air Supply Mini-Mate Personal Ionic Air Purifier could be your savior.
Have you tried any of the above to improve the quality of your indoor space? Please leave a comment below with any experiences you have had that may also help others. Other suggestions are also welcome.