mental health

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Mental Health and Poor Indoor Air Quality – Tips For Staying Healthy And Happy

3 minute read

We know that the air we breathe has an impact on the health of our lungs, but what about its effect on other areas of health? A 2017 study from the University of Washington found that living in areas with poor air quality increases your risk for psychological distress impacting your mental health.

Researchers found this to be true across socioeconomic and demographic lines, which can vary greatly in cities where the air is most often polluted. (Here’s a list of the most polluted cities in the U.S.)

When you add in the stress of staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, (in which the common advice is to spend more time outdoors), it can be tough to feel at ease anywhere. And in areas with increasingly extreme wildfire seasons, the problem is compounded even more.

We know that poor air quality can lead to mental health issues, so what are some solutions that work towards better air quality and less stress?

How To Improve Air Quality Where You Live

Many cities in the western part of the United States are experiencing one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, with weeks of smoke-filled skies that can feel inescapable. And some factors indicate that the problem will only get worse in the years to come.

Poor air quality is also a common problem in places that experience smog, traffic fumes, and dust storms.

Whether you live in a house or apartment, here are some ways to improve the quality of the air inside despite what’s going on outside.

Keep The Windows Closed
This can be difficult to do as the temperatures go up, but keeping the windows closed is one of the best ones to avoid exposure to outdoor air. Most modern constructions are sealed well enough to let very little outdoor air inside, and even older builds will offer good protection.

Avoid Cooking And Cleaning
Try not to add more heat and particulates to the air in your space. Cooking and cleaning introduce humidity and VOCs, and when you can’t open the windows it can be difficult to ventilate properly during these activities. Go with takeout or delivery meals if those are options in your area, or try a recipe that doesn’t require an oven.

Use An Air Purifier
If you live in an area with recurring poor air quality, consider an Aprilaire whole-home purifier that actively filters the air in your home throughout the year. For occasional poor air quality, you can try out an Aprilaire portable air purifier that you can move to whatever area of your home you’re spending time in.

Reducing Stress When Stuck Inside

Poor air quality often makes it unsafe to leave your home. Add to that the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, and staying inside day after day can be a stressful experience.

Here are some tips for relieving stress and anxiety and improving your mental health at home:

Accept that your environment is more stressful than usual and that it’s alright to not feel at your best or most productive.

Set boundaries between your work, play, and home activities. When all the areas are mixed into one, it can be difficult to ever truly “turn off” or concentrate on what’s in front of you.

If you’re in a stretch of poor air quality, take it easy until it’s safe to resume exercise and other outdoor activities. Here’s a chart showing the impact of exercising in wildfire smoke. Have a list of things you can do to pass the time safely indoors like reading, playing a game, or listening to music.

Create a routine that you can comfortably accomplish each day. This can involve wakeup time, meals, exercise (if it can be safely done), and reading or watching a favorite show.

Reach out to others for mutual support. It’s likely that your friends and family are feeling some of the same anxieties, and knowing that you’re not alone can help center your mindset.

American Heart Month

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

American Heart Month and Healthy Air

2 minute read

 

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are responsible for taking approximately 17.9 million lives each year, making it the number one cause of death globally.

Related to this unfortunate statistic, physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of CVDs. In our current COVID-19 climate, the sedentary lifestyle that so many have been forced into only adds to those numbers.

Along with physical inactivity, other factors can have a large impact on our heart health, like an unhealthy diet, tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, and the air we breathe.

Breathing in particulates, (the tiny particles or droplets that float in polluted air), puts you at a higher risk of heart and brain problems. Most air quality standards consider particles that are 2.5 microns or less in width (also known as PM2.5) to be a major source of chronic health impacts for indoor environments. The sources of these particles include cooking, candles, and outdoor air, and require an air filter rated at MERV 10 for removal.

American Heart Month and Heart Health

To get started on making heart health a priority for you and your family, you can join the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and The Heart Truth® program for their February American Heart Month Campaign.

This year they’re focusing on themes for each day of the week:

  • #SelfcareSunday – Create your self-care checklist for the week.
  • #MindfulMonday – Know your blood pressure numbers and other heart stats. Manage any pre-existing health conditions with regular check-ups and by taking the medicine you’ve been prescribed.
  • #TastyTuesday – Try a tasty, heart-healthy recipe.
  • #WellnessWednesday – Put your heart into your wellness routine. To ensure you’re working out in Healthy Air, you might need to change where and how hard you work out–especially in regions with poor outdoor air quality. Avoid exercise that will result in heavy breathing if you are near high traffic roads, power plants, or even a gym with poor ventilation.
  • #TreatYourselfThursday – Treat your heart to some relaxation and fun.
  • #FollowFriday – Share who inspires you to show your heart more love.
  • #SelfieSaturday – Post about your favorite way to take care of your heart. Be sure to include #OurHearts in your post.

Whether it’s American Heart Month or not, your heart health is something to take seriously. Here are a few more ways you can take care of your heart any time of the year:

  • Don’t smoke – One of the best things you can do for your heart is to quit smoking and/or limit your exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Do an Air Check – Before heading out to work, school, or to play, you can check your local air quality index. Green means go on this rating scale and shows it’s safe for everyone to spend time outside. People with health conditions, however, should limit the time they spend outdoors when a yellow or orange rating is given.
  • Purify your Air – Invest in an Aprilaire Air Purifier for your home and office to remove pollutants. Reducing the number of particulates in the air can lower blood pressure and inflammation to ensure a healthy heart.
air fryer recipes

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Healthy Air Fryer Recipes: Holiday Treats!

2 minute read

Who doesn’t love a good holiday meal? And while our holiday celebrations may be limited to our own households this year, there is no limit on the amount of delicious treats you can make and enjoy at home!

Let’s explore some healthy-ish recipes you can make in an air fryer, so you can save more of your calorie count for those family favorites that haven’t changed for generations.

Though air frying doesn’t automatically put everything into the health food category, it can be significantly healthier than frying in oil. So whether you’re looking for a twist on annual favorites or want to introduce a tasty new tradition, let’s get air frying.

Holiday Dessert Air Fryer Recipes

We’ll get started with everyone’s favorite morning sweet: donuts! (If someone tells you they aren’t a fan of donuts, they clearly just haven’t tried the right ones.)

With endless varieties and fast, delicious results from air frying, you can find something for everyone.

Try one of these recipes for a fun holiday breakfast:

It’s always good to work in some fruit to your holiday fare. And no, it doesn’t need to be the dense, dreaded fruit cake. With the air fryer, you’ve got plenty of options for tasty, sweet treats that can serve as a snack or dessert.

Last but not least: chocolate! It really doesn’t matter what time of year it is, chocolate is always in season. Here are a few chocolatey treats to add to your holiday dessert menu.

More Air Fryer Recipes

Of course, the air fryer can be used for so much more than desserts and sweet treats. Main dishes like ham, meatloaf, or pork roast; Vegetables like carrots, veggie cakes, or frozen veggies; Sides like mashed potato cakes, cheesy ravioli, or bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers.

Use your imagination, and try some of these great recipes for your holiday celebrations or any time during these chilly winter months.

AA Homepage Articles | News |

Experiencing the Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

Before the Fight For Air Climb

Entering the US Bank Center for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb was a rush of energy.

This seemed less like an arduous trek up 1,000 stairs and more of an indoor festival. There were volunteers ready to greet you and pump you up for the ensuing climb and people from different companies sitting at tables ready to hand out souvenirs.

They were probably also there to distract you after you just got done instinctively looking up toward the top of the 47-story US Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee becoming a little uneasy at the prospect of your journey upward.

Before you made your climb, you gathered as a team and took several escalators down to the basement level before getting warmed up with a quick aerobic routine. Then you took a long and winding tunnel where you greeted by more volunteers who were cheering you on. It was hard not to feel inspired and excited.

During the Fight For Air Climb

One-by-one people took off up toward the top of the US Bank Center to begin their Fight For Air Climb. I, like most, started off confidently and quickly. I took the first six flights easily, but then by flight eight, I began to fight for air. I now understand why they title this climb just that. My mind and my body were at odds. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to continue at the same pace to get it over with as quickly as possible or to slow down and feel better. I went with the former.

Everyone in the stairwell was trudging onward with the same dilemma. We all were gasping for air as we kept pushing up each step and each flight toward the top of the Fight For Air Climb. At several points, I wondered if I was actually making any progress.

Every 10 flights there was a group of volunteers handing out cups of water and words of encouragement. Both were sorely needed to help push me along.

With each passing flight, I kept a tally of how many flights I had left. Twenty flights down, 27 more flights to go; 30 flights down, 17 flights to go; Ok, 40 flights down, 7 to go. By the time I got to the 40th floor, I knew I could make the last push to make it to the top of my Fight For Air Climb journey.

After the Fight For Air Climb

Eventually, I reached the top after 9 minutes and 31 seconds. At the top of the stairwell, I was met by volunteers who were cheering me on and by other climbers who were also catching their breath and taking in the picturesque views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan afforded to us by the tallest building in Wisconsin.

As I grabbed a water and walked around soaking in both the views of the city and my accomplishment, it was really cool to watch teams taking pictures together or greeting other climbers with high-fives and smiles. There was a certain camaraderie found in a common struggle.

Despite the lingering soreness, I cannot wait for next year’s climb. No matter if I beat my time from this year or not, it’s about fighting for air together and helping those impacted with lung disease.

To join an upcoming climb in a city near you, visit www.lung.org/aprilaire.

Healthy Air | News |

Aprilaire Partner Contractor Joins Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

“What can you do or say when your family is suffering such losses? It’s devastating,” said Christopher Ciongoli, HVAC salesman/estimator with Aprilaire partner Whalen & Ives.

Chris is participating in the NYC American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb on April 4, 2020. When he heard that Aprilaire was the national Healthy Air sponsor of the event he signed on to the Aprilaire team.

“An opportunity to make difference just appeared to me on Jan 10th in an email from Aprilaire informing me about the Fight for Air Climb. This was it. This is how I would help make a difference and support my wife as well as so many others that are impacted by lung disease”.

Lung disease became an all too familiar fixture in Chris’s life last year when his brother-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in-law all died from lung disease.

As of February 7, he’s raised 90 percent of his fundraising goal. Not only is Chris excited to help raise funds and awareness, he told us he’s already reaping the benefits of training for the 849-step climb.

“My blood pressure has dropped, my pants are getting loose, and my dog Crosby is getting back in shape too!”

Every morning he goes out with dog Crosby and strengthens his legs and increases his stamina to make sure he can make it to the 44th floor of the 1290 Avenue of Americas building in New York City.

Read more of Chris’s incredible journey by going to his page. Thank you for your efforts, Chris and we cannot wait to hear more.

For more information about the Fight For Air Climb and to find an event in your area, go to https://www.lung.org/aprilaire. To learn how to train for your own climb, head to our page where we share training tips to help you prepare for your own Fight For Air Climb.

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
Breathe a sigh of relief.

Learn More

News |

Aprilaire Partners with Wellness Within Your Walls

2 minute read

Aprilaire is the exclusive Presenting Sponsor for 2020 for Wellness Within Your Walls.

Wellness Within Your Walls (WWYW) is an award-winning education and certification organization which supports reducing and eliminating toxins in living environments to improve overall health and wellness.

The organization’s one-of-a-kind education and certification process enables consumers and professionals to increase awareness about toxins in building materials and furnishings and guide them toward making homes healthier.

Wellness Within Your Walls partnership for national campaign

WWYW will partner with Aprilaire to launch a national “Breathe Healthy” awareness campaign in 2020 to educate consumers, homeowners and the build/design community about the latest products and services that help improve air quality in homes.

“We believe everyone deserves to breathe healthy air, and we believe in the power of education,” said Dale Philippi, president of Aprilaire. “Our mission is to enhance everyone’s health by improving the air in their homes. We are proud to partner with WWYW– an organization building awareness with consumers and professionals about the importance of healthy air.”

“We are excited by our new partnership with Aprilaire. They offer products that solve multiple issues relating to affordable ventilation and humidity control for homes and we’re proud to work with Aprilaire to further elevate the dialog about health and wellness in living environments,” said Jillian Pritchard Cooke, founder of WWYW.

In addition to the “Breathe Healthy” campaign with WWYW, Aprilaire is the FY20 National Healthy Air Sponsor for the American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb events which support raising awareness of the importance of indoor air quality. The two initiatives will dovetail to further educate consumers and professionals alike about why healthy air – especially in the home, is vital for good health. Good air quality improves overall wellness, helps prevent irritating allergens and pests, and helps shield homes from costly damages.

About Wellness Within Your Walls

Wellness Within Your Walls® is an award-winning informational resource group created to provide education and guidance on chemicals commonly found in living and working spaces. With a goal to empower and guide consumers and professionals toward healthier living environments, WWYW certifies people, places, products and programs globally through education and health and wellness protocols. WWYW’s 10-step holistic approach, known as the Healthy Living System™, results in a legacy of health, harmony and sustainability in living environments. WWYW was founded by Jillian Pritchard Cooke, a 30-year industry veteran with experience as president of interior design firm DES-SYN and owner of the eco-living lifestyle boutique BEE. While designing Atlanta’s EcoManor in 2006, the first Gold LEED-certified single-family residence in the U.S., a cancer diagnosis became the catalyst for turning Jillian’s expertise into a passionate commitment to create healthier living environments by reducing toxins. Wellness Within Your Walls was born. The organization provides frequent and sought-after speakers at trade shows, educational opportunities, workshops, seminars and other industry events. For more information, visit: http://www.wellnesswithinyourwalls.com.