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Heard of forest bathing?

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New review shows why nature is so important for our health! In fact, spending time outside and connecting with nature can reduce stress and lower blood pressure

That’s what forest bathing is all about – the fancy term for the practice of mindfully spending time in nature. The new review pooled the results of 14 studies related to forest bathing interventions and its effects on a range of different health markers including blood pressure, heart rate and mood

The results

Spending time in forests reduced blood pressure and heart rate, as well as lowering anxiety and stress levels (mental and physical) in middle-aged and elderly people with pre-hypertension and hypertension (aka high blood pressure) – creating better mood and improving quality of life.

Take-home

While it’s not clear whether the same applies to our urban parks or gardens, try to get outside in nature if you can (socially distanced, of course!) – especially when you’re feeling a little stressed. Just two hours of forest walking was shown to have a benefit.

What about our microbes?

Now I don’t want to give credit where credit isn’t due… but our microbes may very well play a role in the benefits of forest bathing too. How? It’s been suggested that we take in beneficial microbes when we breathe in the forest air, hello gut microbe diversity!