Health Benefits of Walking in the Forest

There’s no better time to go for a hike than during autumn when the weather starts to cool down and the trees start to change color. Aside from being able to appreciate the beauty that nature has to offer, there are many health benefits that one could gain from a simple stroll among the trees. The following infographic outlines four health benefits that have been suggested from past research studies.

 

Health Benefits of Walking in the Forest

 

Stress & Depression

Several studies related to this topic have shown that being around trees may help alleviate stress. Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found that stress levels were lower for participants who viewed a scene of nature.

Mind & Focus

In addition to reducing stress, walking in the forest could also help improve your focus. Imagine walking among the trees with nothing to think about but the elements of nature around you. Walking in the woods could help you think less of everyday things that drain you mentally. As Dr. Berman puts it, the forest “has interesting stimulation to look at, which captures your attention automatically”.

Immune System Boost

Plants emit a chemical substance called Phytocides. This substance is designed to help plants protect themselves from diseases and insects, but studies suggest that Phytocides could also be of benefit to human beings. When the chemical is breathed in, our bodies respond by increasing the production of white blood cells known as natural killer cells. The increasing population of these white blood cells is also thought to help reduce the risks of cancer.

Mitigate ADHD symptoms

For young children affected by ADHD, walking in the woods could help mitigate the major symptoms associated with the condition. One study found that children with access to green spaces are more likely to be able to replenish their “directed attention”.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning a trip to your local forest before it gets too cold. Be sure to take safety precautions if you plan on visiting a place of nature that’s situated in a remote location.

For more information, visit Organic Lesson, an online resource for gardening and environmental sustainability.

 

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