Healthy Forest

Photo: Pixabay

I love the forest. All year round. But especially now in autumn, as it is a feast for the senses. These colourful leaves, the intense scents that are even more intense due to the humid air, the soaked, soft forest floor, leaves that slowly sink to the ground ….

And because temperatures are now falling and the weather is more often dominated by rain showers and high air humidity, it is particularly important to spend time outdoors. Anyone who now continuously parks their body in the warm flat and on the cosy couch is particularly susceptible to colds – not only when exposed to colder temperatures.

Exercise in the fresh air is good for your health and exercise in the forest even strengthens the immune system. It is scientifically proven that just one day in the forest increases the number of our natural killer cells by almost 40%! And for seven days.
And what could be more important than a stable immune system right now?

The positive effect of the forest on our health has been well researched.
It was in the early 1980s when the Japanese Forestry Commission recommended that spending time in the forest regularly should be established as an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. This resulted in Shinrin Yoku, the so-called forest bathing.

What the forest can do for us

It has been proven that the forest is like an aromatherapy.
It can …

  • contribute to relaxation with its calm and natural sounds and smells
  • lower the cortisol level in the blood (relieve stress)
  • help you to switch off from everyday life with its impressions
  • relieve muscle tension
  • moisten the airways and mucous membranes
  • prevent depression and burnout
  • lower blood pressure
  • prevent cardiovascular diseases

How the forest helps us

There are several conditions in the forest which contribute to its health-promoting effect:

  • increased concentration of oxygen in the air
  • increased air humidity (good for the defence function of the mucous membranes)
  • environmental influences such as heat or cold are alleviated by the leaf canopy
  • the leaf canopy also serves as a noise barrier and provides a soft light whose green tones have a calming effect
  • Terpenes, messenger substances released by plants, have a positive effect on our immune system. We absorb them through our skin and breathing.

How you can benefit from the forest

Even regular walks in the forest have a positive effect on our immune system (as little as 20-30 minutes per day help to reduce the stress hormone cortisol in the blood). If, in addition, you wish to bathe in the atmosphere of the forest according to Japanese tradition and thus enhance its positive effects, you can enrich your walk by

  • consciously perceive the surroundings with all your senses – listen to the rustling of the leaves and the sounds of the animals, immerse yourself in the colours that appear to your eyes, perceive the smells that surround you, walk consciously and feel the soft ground under your feet, let your fingers slide over the rough bark of a tree, lean against it…
  • choose a rather slow pace
  • go to a time when you are not under deadline pressure
  • take breaks and drink regularly. Take a pot of your favourite tea with you and enjoy it consciously
  • combine the walk with relaxation exercises such as Qi Gong, breathing exercises or a little meditation

So – off to the forest & stay healthy!

Yours, Birgit

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