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Where are you living – How much time do you spend indoors?

For this month’s blog post we are going to do a little math, so get those pencils sharpened. Okay we know no one uses pencils anymore, so bring up your favorite calculator app on your smart phone and lets get ready.

Lets first start with the setup. If I told you that you had to spend the next 60 years of your life inside and could never go outside, what would you do? Our guess is you would try and make the area as comfortable as possible. Put in an extra window or two so you can at least see outside, make sure the temperature is perfect inside at all times and so on. What about the air you are breathing? Would that come to mind? Unfortunately for a lot of people it does not, but it could be the most important thing you should consider.

Okay, why does any of this matter. Here is where we get to do some math. Fill in the following blanks with your average (yes we know some weeks are different than others – we are shooting for an average).

Hours at work each week: ____

Hours commuting to and from work/per week: _____

Hours eating either in your home or at a restaurant/week: _____

Hours sleeping/week: _____

Hours watching TV or digital devices indoors/week: _____

Other indoor hours (reading, household chores, etc.) per week: _____

Add all these numbers to get your weekly total of indoor hours: _____

Now lets make this scary. Take the total number of hours you are indoors per week and times that by 52 to get a year quantity. The average US resident spends approximately 86.9% of their life indoors (source NHAPS study).

Time spent indoors

It gets worst when we throw a statistic that indoor air can be up to 5 times – yes 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Just for fun lest make this more depressing and take that over a lifetime. With a life expectancy of 79 you will spend as many as 69 years of your life indoors (source: energy vangaurd). How did you match up to the average?

We promise, no more math from us this month. So what can we do about our indoor time? Thankfully there is a lot that we can do. The simple answer is to spend more time outside – play or coach a sport, take a daily walk (and not on the treadmill at the gym), sit outside and enjoy a cup of coffee. The next step is to do what you can to better your indoor air. When you can, open windows and get as much fresh air inside as possible. Yes we know that is not always possible. When it is not, make sure your home is properly ventilated. Use exhaust fans in the bathrooms and especially in the kitchen. Also make sure you have a source of outdoor air coming in to replace the air you are ventilating. Doing all these things will greatly increase the indoor air quality so if you have to spend that time inside at least you’re doing your best to make the air as good as possible.

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