Walking in the forest environment may promote cardiovascular relaxation. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Influence of forest therapy on cardiovascular relaxation in young adults.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014 ;2014:834360. Epub 2014 Feb 10. PMID: 24660018
Background. Despite increasing attention toward forest therapy as an alternative medicine, very little evidence continues to be available on its therapeutic effects. Therefore, this study was focused on elucidating the health benefits of forest walking on cardiovascular reactivity. Methods. Within-group comparisons were used to examine the cardiovascular responses to walking in forest and urban environments. Forty-eight young adult males participated in the two-day field research. Changes in heart rate variability, heart rate, and blood pressure were measured to understand cardiovascular reactivity. Four different questionnaires were used to investigate the changes in psychological states after walking activities. Results. Forest walking significantly increased the values of ln(HF) and significantly decreased the values of ln(LF/HF) compared with the urban walking. Heart rate during forest walking was significantly lower than that in the control. Questionnaire results showed that negative mood states and anxiety levels decreased significantly by forest walking compared with urban walking. Conclusion. Walking in the forest environment may promote cardiovascular relaxation by facilitating the parasympathetic nervous system and by suppressing the sympathetic nervous system. In addition, forest therapy may be effective for reducing negative psychological symptoms.