how breathing meditation can improve your wellness

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Breathing Meditation Improves Your Physical and Mental Health

< 1 minute read

The health benefits of breathing meditation are incredible. Not only are there a variety of styles to cater to individual strengths and personal gains, but breathing meditation is something you can do anywhere without any special equipment. Find the method that works for you and try to practice it regularly. It can be as simple as breathing in and out of your nose or taking the time to close your eyes while free of distractions. There are innumerable health benefits of breathing meditation, but we are going to focus on four main categories of wellness.

Wellness Benefits of Breathing Meditation

Mental Health Benefits

  • Mindfulness practices can decrease depression
  • Help regulate mood and anxiety
  • Reduces overall stress and anxiety

Performance Benefits

  • Improves focus, attention, and ability to perform under stressful conditions
  • Improves information processing and decision making
  • Fosters creativity

Physical Health Benefits

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and premature death

Relational Health Benefits

  • Improves levels of compassion
  • Improves positive relationships
  • Fosters social connectedness

Your health is further affected by your environment, including your home, your workplace, and wherever you choose to meditate.

Just be sure you’re not canceling out all the health benefits of meditating by breathing in polluted air. The EPA warns that both the air inside and outside your home can contain air pollutants that cause serious health effects.

So before you start the beneficial deep breathing, learn how to improve your home’s Indoor Air Quality. Then find a quiet place, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and let your mind do the rest.

Sources:

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/B:COTR.0000045557.15923.96
  2. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2006.12.817
  3. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ajp.149.7.936
  4. http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2008914,00.html
  5. https://newsroom.ucla.edu/
  6. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00116/full
  7. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.112.967406
  8. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2008.0416
  9. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-07764-x.pdf?origin=ppub
  10. https://www.healthcentral.com/article/meditation-good-for-loneliness-depression-and-disease-prevention
  11. http://ccare.stanford.edu/article/enhancing-compassion-a-randomized-controlled-trial-of-a-compassion-cultivation-training/
  12. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004093504.htm
  13.  https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2008-13989-015 
  14. https://liveanddare.com/benefits-of-meditation/
  15. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation#section13
  16. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=1&contentid=3066
Capture Back to School Germs

AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages | Healthy Air |

AprilAire MERV 16 Air Filters Capture Back-to-School Germs

2 minute read

Tens of millions of students are heading back to school and will start sharing the same air with many different people for several hours a day. In what is known as the “back-to-school plague,” these first few weeks provide a fertile breeding ground for both students (and their families) to get ill due to the swapping and recirculating of aerosols. Luckily, there is a solution.

Use AprilAire MERV 16 Air Filters with AprilAire Whole-House Air Purifiers

Coughing and Sneezing Facts

Use AprilAire MERV 16 Air Filters to capture back-to-school germs from coughing and sneezing.

Using an AprilAire whole-house air purifier with an AprilAire MERV 16 Air Filter can help protect you and other family members at home from the common cold, influenza, and other airborne viruses that crop up throughout the school year.

Capture Infected Aerosols

AprilAire MERV 16 air filters capture 98% of airborne viruses that flow through the filtering system reducing the number of infected aerosols that are in your home’s air. These highly efficient filters add an extra layer of protection against poor handwashing and respiratory etiquette.

Sneezing and coughing expel aerosols into the air at speeds of 50–100 miles per hour propelling them 3– 6 feet from their host. Without a proper air filter, some of these aerosols may linger in the air for several hours, get picked up by your HVAC system’s ducts, and infect people in completely different rooms.

Reduce In-Home Respiratory Irritants

AprilAire MERV 16 air filters also protect your home’s air from other respiratory irritants like dust, dander, and pollen which can trigger health problems like asthma attacks or allergies and can settle on your home’s furniture. AprilAire MERV 16 filters capture 99% of asthma and allergy triggers that flow through the filtering system offering superior HVAC system protection and up to a 6-month filter life.

Upgrading your home’s air filters to MERV 16 can help keep you and your family healthy.

Choose Your AprilAire Air Filter

Use AprilAire MERV 16 Air Filters for superior protection.

Purchase MERV 16 Air Filters

Contact your local AprilAire Healthy Air Professional to get started with MERV 16 filtration today. You can also purchase AprilAire MERV 16 filters directly from the AprilAire website where they will be shipped directly to your home. You can install the filters yourself or contact your local professional or the AprilAire support team for assistance.

Upgrading Whole-House Healthy Air Solutions

Upgrading air filters from MERV 13 to MERV 16 in your whole-house air purifiers can help capture germs to better protect your student and your family throughout the school year.

For complete and effective whole-house virus protection, contact your local Healthy Air Professional about the AprilAire Healthy Air System®. This unique, all-in-one system provides whole-house filtration, humidity control, fresh air ventilation, zoning control, and radon mitigation for Healthy Air throughout

air-quality-inside-your-car

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Air Quality Inside Your Car This Summer

2 minute read

Click play to listen to the Air Quality Inside Your Car This Summer article. 

Millions of Americans are hitting the highways this summer for travel destinations near and far. All those miles on the road mean hours spent in the car, and that gets us at AprilAire thinking about the quality of the air you’re breathing inside your vehicle.

Sources of Air Pollution in Vehicles

The air in your car can become polluted from three primary sources: dirty air outside, off-gassing from the vehicle’s interior, and the activity of you and your passengers.

Outside air comes in through the car’s ventilation system and open windows, and can often contain pollutants like automotive exhaust from surrounding traffic, allergens, and particulate matter from industrial and farming practices.

Inside the vehicle there are hundreds of components made out of different types of plastic, metal, paint, and more. Think of that “new car smell”—this typically comes from the off-gassing of these materials and is more noticeable in newer cars and whenever your car is sitting in the sun. It’s dangerous to breathe in these volatile organic compounds (VOCs, like benzene and formaldehyde) over time.

Lastly, air can be saturated with carbon dioxide by the exhalations of the car’s occupants, especially with multiple passengers in the same cabin for multiple hours. And adding things like air fresheners, or not cleaning up food waste and debris will also impact the car’s air quality.

How to Clean Your Car’s Air

Start by making sure your cabin’s air filter is updated and effective at removing dust, allergens, and other pollutants. Some manufacturers recommend changing it every 15,000 miles.

If your car has been sitting in the sun for a long period, open up the windows when you first get in to release some of the VOCs that have been trapped. It’s tempting to let the air conditioner do all the work, but by letting out the trapped air, you’re both lowering the interior temperature and removing pollutants. After a few minutes, you can roll up the windows and enjoy the chilled air.

When you’re on the open road without much surrounding traffic or other sources of pollution, consider using open windows to control the temperature rather than the air conditioner. This allows more fresh air to enter the cabin and prevents the buildup of carbon dioxide.

Most modern vehicles have a setting on the air and temperature controls that will recirculate the air inside the vehicle, and block out air from outside. This is a good option when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic or driving through an area with construction, farming, or other sources of air pollution.

Recirculation mode will prevent the external pollutants from entering your car, but keep in mind that this setting can also cause carbon dioxide levels to rise if used for an extended period of time.

Keep your car’s interior clean to prevent airborne dust and the formation of mold and mildew. Clean up liquid as soon as it’s spilled, and avoid using chemical sprays or air fresheners.

Interview with the American Lung Association

AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages |

Breathing Healthy Air: Interview with the American Lung Association

4 minute read

At AprilAire, we encourage breathing Healthy Air because we know it benefits your overall health. The American Lung Association knows it too. That’s why AprilAire air filters are the National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association*, playing a key role in the fight to improve lung health and prevent lung disease.

We got to interview National Senior Vice President of Development Sally Draper about the importance of Healthy Air and how both AprilAire and the American Lung Association are working together to help you Breathe the Fullness of Life.

Could you introduce yourself for the readers and tell us about why you chose a career with the American Lung Association?

“I joined the Lung Association in 2014 because I was attracted to its comprehensive mission—to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Every day we help Americans breathe easier through our efforts to fund innovative research, advocate for policies that protect our lungs, and educate patients, caregivers, providers, and the public with science-backed information. We were founded more than 115 years ago, and the needs are greater today than ever before, including the youth vaping epidemic, climate change, and COVID-19!”

Can you tell us about the American Lung Association’s mission?

“The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Our work is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; champion clean air for all; improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and create a tobacco-free future. Whether it’s searching for cures to lung diseases, keeping kids off tobacco, or advocating for laws that protect the air we breathe, the work of the American Lung Association helps to save lives every day.”

How did AprilAire and the American Lung Association come to work together in the first place? What does that relationship look like presently?

“AprilAire and the American Lung Association forged a new relationship in 2018. We quickly realized how much we had in common. Our partnership was developed as we saw an opportunity to educate and help more consumers improve the air in their homes to create a healthier environment.

Since 2020, AprilAire has been a Proud Partner of the Lung Association with its 4” residential air filters. Additionally, AprilAire joined the Lung Association as our FY20 National Fight For Air Climb Partner For Healthy Air. The company has also supported the Lung Association’s “Stand Up For Clean Air” campaign. As part of this initiative, we are driving conversations around air quality, climate, and health. The Lung Association invited people to share their #MyCleanAirStory—knowing that when people realize climate and air quality are impacting the health of their neighbors, friends, and loved ones—they are more willing to act. AprilAire provided prizes for the #MyCleanAirStory contest, including one grand prize of a whole-home Indoor Air Quality upgrade (the AprilAire Healthy Air System™) and nine AprilAire Room Air Purifiers. This year, the company stepped up once again to sponsor the Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb in Milwaukee. Also in 2021, the Lung Association welcomed Dale Philippi, President and CEO of Research Products Corporation, AprilAire’s parent company, to the Lung Association’s Wisconsin Leadership Board of Directors.”

Tell us about the Fight For Air Climb.

“The American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb is the nation’s premier stair climbing challenge. At 38 events nationwide, children and adults of all ages participate in this celebratory stair-climbing adventure. Pre-pandemic, the Fight For Air Climb was held in several of our country’s most iconic skyscrapers. This year, the Lung Association invited participants outdoors for a one-of-a-kind adventure to support healthy lungs and clean air. In fact, Dale was among the company’s team of more than 50 employees that climbed the stairs at Milwaukee’s American Family Field on May 22nd, proving he puts his feet, time, and talent behind causes he supports.

AprilAire has been a stalwart partner in the Fight For Air Climb, promoting the event to employees, customers, trade partners, family, and friends. Through this unique vehicle, the company is engaging individuals of all ages to understand and celebrate the importance of Healthy Air.”

AprilAire’s air filters are a National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association. How do you feel our mission aligns with yours?

“Our CEO, Harold Wimmer, has said, ‘Breathing should not be an uphill battle, but for many it is… no one should have to fight for air on a daily basis.’ Similarly, Dale has declared, ‘We believe everyone deserves to breathe Healthy Air.’ As a National Proud Partner, AprilAire’s mission to enhance everyone’s health by improving the air in their homes aligns very closely with that of the American Lung Association, champion of clean air for all.”

What are the benefits of breathing Healthy Air and what are everyday things that people can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life?

“Clean air is essential for healthy lungs. The American Lung Association works to ensure that the air we breathe is clean and safe from harmful pollution. In fact, every year we publish our State of the Air Report, which looks at two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants, ozone and fine particulate matter. Our 2021 State of the Air Report found that more than 4 in 10 Americans—over 135 million people—are living in places with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

One of the most important things you can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life is to keep sources of pollution out of your home. Check out these commonsense tips on Lung.org. Additionally, ventilation helps reduce indoor air pollution, but it works best if paired with keeping known sources of air pollution out of the building. For tips on how to use ventilation to protect your lung health, check out our section on Ventilation: How Buildings Breathe.”

Fight for Healthy Air

At AprilAire, we believe everyone deserves to Breathe the Fullness of Life, and we’re not the only ones that feel this way. Through our Proud Partnership with the American Lung Association, we aim to fill every home with Healthy Air. Both AprilAire and the Lung Association believe that breathing Healthy Air should be available to everyone, and maintaining healthy Indoor Air Quality is an important step for your lung health. Read more about our partnership and the efforts of the American Lung Association on their website.

*Disclaimer: The American Lung Association does not endorse any product, device, or service.

2021 Good Neighbor Values

AA Homepage Articles |

2021: AprilAire’s Good Neighbor Values

2 minute read

Click the play button to listen to the post

We take the importance of caring for others to heart at AprilAire. We believe we have a purpose beyond the individual work we do and that being a successful company also means “Being a Good Neighbor.” It’s one of our core values, and something we put into action each year.

We remain committed to helping our local communities in a number of ways, including financial contributions and volunteering. In the past, we’ve raised funds to provide pack-n-plays to mothers in need, volunteered at local blood drives, and held various donation drives throughout the year.

While our partnership opportunities may look different in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re excited to continue our work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whose mission statement reads:

“A membership organization, the Society began working in Madison in 1925 with two parish-based groups of members serving their neighbors in need. Today, programs the Society operates in Dane County include a large customer-choice food pantry, a charitable pharmacy, storage for the goods of persons who are homeless, seven thrift stores offering direct charity, housing at Port St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House, and several other forms of assistance for people struggling with poverty.”

We’ve been working with St. Vincent de Paul – Madison since 2014, giving us a number of incredible opportunities to give back and live out our mission of being Good Neighbors.

We believe the work they’re doing to provide assistance for our community is more important than ever right now, which is why it’s our honor to be a 2021 Platinum Sponsor for St. Vincent de Paul’s 6th Annual Care Café fundraising breakfast on May, 5th 2021. The theme is “Love Made Visible.”

They’re going virtual this year, which means they have unlimited capacity to reach their goal of $140,000. If you live in Dane County, we encourage you to attend the virtual event and support our neighbors in need through your contributions to the food pantry, free pharmacy, and housing programs.

 Click here for more information on St. Vincent de Paul – Madison to see how you can get involved.

Or find a charity in your area that you may be able to connect with to make an impact.

ozone exposure

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

Ozone Exposure and Your Health

2 minute read

Click play to listen to Ozone Exposure and Your Health.

Your plan for keeping yourself and your family healthy this summer likely includes:

Part of the weather forecast that is important to understand, but is often overlooked, is the amount of ground-level ozone in your area. Stratospheric ozone provides a protective layer from the sun’s powerful radiation, but when ozone exists at ground level, it can be dangerous to human health. It forms when pollution from automobiles and industrial activity reacts with sunlight, meaning ozone reaches its highest levels of concentration on hot, sunny days.

Health Impacts of Ozone Exposure

Our understanding of ozone’s impact on human health continues to grow. It has been known to cause temporary symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath, and long-term impacts like damaged airways, more frequent asthma attacks, and premature death.

Recently, a 2022 study also linked ozone exposure to a rise in depression among children aged 9–13. Researchers found that those who reported higher levels of depression were more likely to live in areas that experienced higher levels of ozone exposure.

The exact cause of this association is not known, but researchers suggest that children may be more susceptible to it because they spend more time outdoors than adults. As for why increased ozone exposure might cause depression, researchers said it may be due to pollution and ozone causing an inflammatory response in the body, which has previously been linked to depression.

Another study linked excessive ozone exposure to cognitive impairment in older adults.

Controlling Ozone Exposure

Ozone exposure and the air pollution that helps create it can have a large impact on physical and mental health. That means it’s crucial to understand when you’re at risk of breathing in high concentrations of ozone, and how to avoid it.

AirNow.gov can tell you the quality of the air in your zip code, which includes a reading of current ozone levels.

The Environmental Protection Agency assembled the below chart to show how ozone concentrations impact humans and the actions you can take to ensure you and your family stay healthy.

The numbers will appear in the AirNow report, and can give you an idea of how much outdoor time is possible on any given day. While a couple of days of high exposure will likely cause only short-term symptoms, extended exposure over years can lead to larger problems that can take a real toll on your health.

Talk to your doctor if you have questions about specific medical conditions and how ozone exposure may impact them.