6 Ways your Living Environment Affects your Health

May 22, 2017

With all the hype around fitness and nutrition, especially in the health-conscious corners of the world such as Australia or Scandinavia, we often underestimate the influence of our basic living conditions on our wellbeing.

In addition to a well-structured diet plan and a workout routine which are both essential for a healthy lifestyle, here are a few relevant aspects of your life that can either benefit or harm you, and tips on how you can ensure a healthy living environment for you and your family.

 

  • Noise and light pollution

 

Living in densely populated cities has led to more homes exposed to high levels of noise pollution and artificial lighting around every corner. For those living near airports, railway tracks, or highways, the problem can get even worse, causing anything from sleep disorders to high blood pressure.

While we wait for some advanced solutions to reduce noise in the first place, there are a few ways you can reduce its negative impact on your quality of life. Using various soundproofing methods, such as sound-blocking doors, sound-absorbing fabrics for curtains that will also keep the artificial light at bay during night, and complete sound-insulation significantly help you keep noise out of your home.

 

  • Air pollution

 

Unless you live in Muonio in Finland, a town above the Arctic Circle with the lowest level of air pollution in the world, you are likely exposed to above-normal levels of air pollutants such as smog, smoke, and soot. By now it’s become common knowledge that air pollution increases the risk of many respiratory diseases, and recent research even indicates it’s one of the factors that increase the risk of dementia.

Although you can contribute by reducing your carbon footprint, in order to cleanse the air in your home, you’ll need to decorate your home with plants to serve as your natural air cleansers, as well as store-bought air purifiers with HEPA filters that will remove allergens, pollutants, smoke, odours and other irritants.

 

  • Soil and water pollution

 

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Old residential buildings and houses are often built with materials that we now know are carcinogenic and hazardous for our well-being. They range from lead and arsenic, to asbestos and mercury, and they can contaminate the soil, pipes, water, cement, insulation, and many other nooks and crannies of a home. Also, prolonged exposure to these materials can endanger your well being.

These toxic materials often leave no visible trace or smell, so it’s unlikely you’d be able to detect them on your own. That’s why more people are resorting to professional asbestos testing in Melbourne and other health-conscious cities, in order to inspect and remove any potential contaminants from the soil and their homes.

 

  • Inadequate lighting

 

As opposed to excess artificial light present in urban environments, your home might not be well-equipped with windows that will allow plenty of natural daylight. Spending too much time in dark or dim places can have a negative impact not just on your mood, but also on your circadian rhythm, productivity and your immune system.

If possible, design your rooms in such a way that natural light can enter your home most of the day, while long winters and dreary days could use some help from LED lighting, which are energy-efficient, eco-friendly and much more beneficial to your health.

 

  • Electromagnetic radiation

 

Living in this highly digitalized day and age has many perks, but it also leads to spending hours on end sitting at our computers, using our phones, watching TV, and using devices such as the microwave, all of which emit electromagnetic radiation, which can pose a health threat when we’re exposed to a certain extent.

While it’s unlikely you’ll quit your day job as a developer or ditch modern ways of communication, it’s wise to reconsider the amount of time your spend using these devices. We’ve become accustomed to a digital overload, but with a few tweaks in your behaviour, you can develop healthier habits such as reading, exercising or alternative ways of preparing food.

 

  • A lack of contact with nature

 

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According to the latest estimations, more than a half of the world’s population lives in urban environments, and that number will skyrocket to almost 70% by 2050. Spending most of our time deprived of our essential connection with nature is bound to have negative effects on our wellbeing. This factor alone contributes to most of the aforementioned issues of pollution, while we also need to tackle the stress of living in overcrowded cities.

However, you can do your best to spend more time in nature, near water and away from those busy streets of your urban jungle. Whenever the weather is suitable, you can move your workout routine outdoors, to the nearest forest, park or riverbank, and you can organize regular weekend trips to visit new natural wonders close to home. If you’re curious, you can also take up summer or winter sports you’ve never tried before, which will also help you increase the time you spend detoxing from the city.

Although we’re a long way away from a perfect living environment, these are some out of many ways in which you can boost your health and protect your wellbeing by adapting your behaviour and encouraging healthy habits in your home.

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