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Reasons for Regular Woodland Walks
(24.05.2021) back
Frequent visits to the forest strengthen your health in lasting ways
Regular time in a forest can be a genuine oasis of good health for people, supporting our well-being
 
A walk in the forest is a pleasure, and it makes you more healthy
You can also truly enjoy quality time with friends and family in the outdoors
 

The forest is truly a symbol of life and vitality, especially in the springtime. The eyes can be almost overwhelmed with the many shades of green while the variety of smells is a delight for the nose and the singing of bird fills our ears. A walk in the forest is real treat for the senses, and it moreover is a natural way to add some physical activity to your day. This green paradise offers a moment of stillness and harmony. Today you'll discover why a visit to the forest also supports good health in some amazing ways!

Taking in nature – why terpenes are so important for our health

Most people would likely agree that walking in the forest is a nice way to spend time; it's clearly relaxing and good for your well-being in general. It offers the possibility to step away from everyday life and enjoy a bit of peace while enjoying the splendour of the natural world. This viewpoint is easy enough to sum up: regularly spending time in wooded areas is a benefit to ones overall mental health. There's actually a wealth of modern research that clearly confirms these positive effects, not only on our minds but also on our bodies. This good feeling that we have in the forest is in fact measurable. A big part of the benefit we experience is down to substances called terpenes that are present in wooded areas. They form gasses that are used by plants to communicate with one another, and they are more prevalent when it's foggy or raining. Sometimes people can even notice the smell of terpenes in the air. When we inhale them, they are taken into our bodies by the lungs. The result is a head-to-toe feeling of relaxation.

That's not the only benefit of a walk in the woods. A number of double-blind studies have repeatedly shown that these substance support good health in other ways, all the more true the more time we spend in the woods: after a day in the forest, we have 40 per cent more natural killer cells circulating in our bloodstream. This effect was proven in scientific studies, and the benefits moreover last for seven days afterwards. This is all the more significant when we consider what role natural killer cells play in our immune system's response to illness – they are the first line of defence when we encounter pathogens. In other research, it was also shown that the terpenes described above help our bodies to fight tumour cells, for example by reducing their presence. The terpenes in the needles of spruce trees and myrtle bushes have been found to be very effective in this regard. In general, conifers and evergreen trees offer the highest concentration of terpenes, and as noted, this concentration goes up when it's foggy or just after a rain.

Should we all be heading for the woods?

It's clear from what you've already learned that regularly visiting a forested area can have very significant health benefits, and as you read about above, scientists have even been able to prove that the measurable improvements last for days. This means that it's not necessary to travel to the woods and spend hours there every day. In addition, it's been found that a view that includes just a single tree can have calming effects in stressful situations. Here's something else to keep in mind: time in a small park in a more urban environment provides many benefits, for example it filters and cleans the air. A park is pleasing to look at from outside and in, helping to restore a sense of harmony. This means that even smaller green spaces and gardens in cities, towns and villages are truly oases of health that we can all put to use. There are many ways it enjoy time in nature when the weather allows: take your lunch break in a nearby park, or take your reading material to bench on a tree-lined boulevard. Even if you live in a larger city, you're sure to find many possibilities to enjoy the healing power of trees. When you have some more time on your hands, you can discover (or rediscover) the nearest woodland…we're certain that the forest will also enjoy your visit!

Source: Arvay, Clemens, G., The Healing Code of Nature: Discovering the New Science of Eco-Psychosomatics, Sounds True Publishing, 2018

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