More studies are confirming what many people have known for years – that taking a walk in the woods is good for you!
A recent article published by Mother Earth News (MEN) focused on people who regularly walked in forests. Studies done on these individuals revealed both subjective and objective findings about the health benefits of walking in the forest.
Individuals who took hikes in the woods on a regular basis expressed that they were able to relax more easily than their non-forest-hiking counterparts. Many also expressed that they felt less psychological stress and hostility as a result of walking in the woods.
MEN also reports that nearly a dozen studies revealed that people who hike in the forest have lower levels of cortisol (a steroid hormone that is released during periods of stress) as well as lower blood pressure and pulse rates. These individuals also reported that they slept better and as a result, they experienced an increased vigor and ability to focus.
The MEN article also revealed that chemicals secreted by trees called phytoncides have been linked to reduction in anxiety as well as to enhanced immune defense.
In addition to these health benefits, there are also the exercise benefits that are provided by a vigorous stroll in the woods. Walking (or running) on natural ground versus walking on concrete or asphalt is better on the knees and joints. Also, regular exercise is linked to innumerable health benefits, including improved muscle density, less fatigue, improved cardiovascular functions, and less incidence of depression.
So join the staff at Ryan Lawn & Tree this fall, as we re-dedicate ourselves to getting outdoors and to taking a vigorous (or leisurely) hike in the forest!