Running in the forest is a magical experience for most trail runners. The scent of fir trees and pine needles is invigorating, the lush green landscape is calming and the wind rustling the trees is soothing. The energy of the forest enlivens my mind, body and soul. The Japanese have a term for this experience of well-being, called shinrin-yoku, which translates to “forest bathing”. Science now has shown that taking a leisurely and mindful walk in a forest may help you recover faster from hard workouts, lower blood sugar and blood pressure, boost immune function and fight cancer. In a June 2007 study cited in International Journal of Immunopathology, in just 2 days in which subjects walked 2 hours per day, individuals increased their Natural Immune Killer (NK) cells by 50%. NK cells are a type of white blood cells that plays an important role in defense against bacteria, viruses and tumors. With aging, high stress levels, and pesticides, the NK count can reduce.

There are numerous other benefits including:

* Deeper and clearer thoughts

* Increased capacity to connect with nature

* Increased energy

* Increased sense of well-being

* Deepening of friendships

* Overall increase in sense of happiness

The idea with Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing, is to let nature enter your body through all five senses, and feel at one with the forest. It is about being mindful of your surroundings and the experience.

It is such a simple process, just walk leisurely in the forest, listen to the sounds of the birds and crickets chirping, meandering streams, absorb the greenery around you and the aromas of the forest.

If you want to recover faster from hard workouts, increase your immune system and reduce stress, take a walk in the forest. Let nature heal you.

Nicole Hunt
Speed Endurance Coaching
Please contact me anytime with questions