Ever notice that climate affects not just your mood and your temperature, but your body and your health? That’s because the amount of light and the range of temperatures we’re exposed to on a daily basis influence many of our physiological and hormonal processes.
And, like with so many other factors that go into your health, the climate in which you’ll thrive is a personal matter. Not everyone does well in the tropical temperatures of Florida or the crisp Colorado winters. In order to feel your best, it’s critical to understand what climate serves you. The study of how environment affects health is called geomedicine.
But you don’t need to be an expert in geomedicine to put its wisdom into action. Here are a few quick tips that can help transform the way you live, today and everyday.
- Some Like it Hot: Temperature Is Personal.
Changes in temperature can affect how your body produces hormones like serotonin, estrogen, testosterone, and dopamine. These, in turn, affect everything from your sense of wellbeing to your levels of aggression to physiological processes like digestion. If you live or work in a hot place but know you do best in cooler climes, make sure you use a fan or air conditioning whenever necessary. And take a vacation to a place with your ideal temperature!
- Altitude Has Highs and Lows for Health.
Altitude can affect your breathing, your blood pressure, and your water retention. Depending on what your body needs, you may benefit from spending time at sea level, in the mountains, or somewhere in between. Traveling to different locales can be one way to discover where your body feels best.
- Humidity Levels Affect the Human Body.
Similar to temperature, humidity affects people in different ways. A humid climate may help keep your skin supple and your joints lubricated, or it might cause systemic imbalance. Different bodies have different fluid balances, and need more or less humidity from their external environments. You’ll know by how you feel in places with low or high humidity levels. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to create an ideal personal balance in your home and work spaces.
- Artificial Light Has a Dark Side.
Each of us reacts differently to light—a powerful force that influences sleep, sex, and many other hormonal processes. For example, sunlight can directly affect how much melatonin your body produces, which is a hormone that regulates your sleep cycles. Because of this, artificial light may be detrimental to your body’s natural balance. Try switching out fluorescent and other bulbs at home and at work for full-spectrum light bulbs. Your body and your brain will thank you!
- Negative Ions Can Be Positive.
Negative ions are air particles found in abundance in forests and near waterfalls and beaches. These particles increase oxygen levels in the blood, strengthen the immune system, promote cell rejuvenation, and enhance vitality of muscle tissue. Whenever possible, use your work breaks and weekends to spend time in places where negative ions are in abundance. It’s also possible that your body has plenty of negative ions already, in which case follow the impulse to stay inside and curl up with a cozy blanket and a good book!
Making small adjustments to your home and work environments can help you put the wisdom of geomedicine to use, and support you in learning what works best for your body.