We Are An Indoor Generation

How much time do you spend inside?

Our lives are shaped my living in poorly ventilated cuboids staring at pulsating rectangles – how sad, how incredibly sad. We are now a sedentary indoor species.

It has been reported (and often quoted) that we spend 90% of our time encapsulated inside something – buildings and modes of transport mostly.

Who says? Well this figure seems to come from Klepeis et al (2001) and The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): A Resource for Assessing Exposure to Environmental Pollutants. It’s a figure that the World Health Organisation and the European Commission too.

The incredible thing is, indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outside so getting outside of our caves and going green is a must, especially for school children. This is easier said than done though if your school is right by a busy main road, which many are.

Pollution around some schools means that staying indoors is sometimes the healthiest option and the lesser of two evils. But then again, a report by University College London and the University of Cambridge has found in some cases, pollution levels inside some London schools were higher than outside.

It’s little surprise that London school pollution levels break WHO guidelines. Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has announced funding for 50 of the capital’s ‘most polluted schools’ to help deliver measures aimed at reducing air pollution. Read more in the The Mayor’s School Air Quality Audit Programme.

A YouGov report, made in conjunction with home environment experts VELUX, assessed the effects of modern indoor living and the stats are pretty depressing. The report makes it clear as daylight that being indoors for most of the time is detrimental for our health.

British children are some of the most housebound kids in the world. A study commissioned by the National Trust found that children spend half the time playing outside that their parents did.

There’s more – Natural England found that 10% of respondents have not even been in a natural environment such as a park, forest or beach for at least a year. This is frightening to think how many of us just don’t get out!

According to one recent study, children who spend too much time indoors are likely to lack sufficient natural light and this could lead them to be prone to myopia.

Study after study suggests that spending time outside reduces stress for children and adults yet the irony is, we spend more and more time locked away inside getting more depressed and out of touch with nature. Some of us spend so little time exploring the natural world that we can develop a fear of it.

The advice is simple: get out….if you can and it’s safe to do so.

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