Trail Running Photograph

The benefits of Shinrin-yoku

The Japanese have a term that describes taking in the atmosphere of the forest. It is called Shinrin-yoku. The expression does not exist in English, but the concept is not unique to the Japanese, and the idea of clearing one’s mind by walking in the woods is very old and trans-cultural. It turns out some scientific studies measuring cortisol (the stress hormone associated with chronic disease and so many other ailments), heart rate, blood pressure and other health indicators found improvements in those measurements of people who walked in forests. I have known this all my life. I always feel better after a walk or run in the woods. If you are living near some woods, if you can, remember to get out for even a short walk.

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