As we celebrate Earth Day this year, it’s important to get that daily dose of Vitamin D and experience the benefits of forest bathing.
If you notice a lot of pain from walking in shoes all day, take a break and let your feet breathe. For example, walking barefoot in nature helps us feel more grounded and connected to the world around us.
We may feel less anxious and able to think clearly. Additionally, the simple act of walking barefoot provides many benefits such as pain relief, improved balance, and better muscle strength, according to Healthline.
What is Forest Bathing?
Forest bathing helps us connect or feel grounded with nature and improve our physical and physiological state of mind.
According to National Geographic, forest bathing or “shinrin-yoku,” became popular in the 1980s in Japan. It’s a simple practice that helps us unplug from technology and tune into nature. Since we are programmed to take daily showers, nature exposure should be a part of our daily routines, too.
These days, you’ll find many dedicated nature enthusiasts leading immersive, meditative “forest bathing” experiences and hikes in tranquil areas. According to National Geographic, forest bathing is intended for all ages and can involve walking or an immersive, meditative journey with a trained guide.
The Benefits of Forest Bathing and Green Spaces
Green spaces improve both physical and mental health. A journal article titled “A Review of Field Experiments on the Effect of Forest Bathing on Anxiety and Heart Rate Variability” talks about those very benefits. Furthermore, it talks about the positive impact on heart health, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, and reducing anxiety. Additionally, the article says that it can involve meditating, walking, or participating in breathing exercises led by a guide.
Forest bathing helps individuals feel connected to nature by activating the five senses. This helps reduce anxiety and prepare the body and mind for relaxation.
According to the study, those that participated showed a “significant increase in parasympathetic nerve activity and a significant decrease in heart rate,” according to the journal article by Sage Journals. The article said that nature exposure helped activate the parasympathetic nervous system, reduced anxiety, and lowered stress levels and blood pressure in the participants.
Being Barefoot in Nature
The next time you go picnicking or curl up with a book in your backyard, try walking barefoot. Take some time to visualize what you’re feeling as you let your bare feet feel connected to the ground.
Do you suffer from chronic pain and inflammation? If so, give your feet a break from shoes. Studies show that walking barefoot can help you sleep better at night and strengthen the immune system.
The next time you’re in nature, try forest bathing and see how you feel. What other grounding activities can you do to stay healthy throughout the year?
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