If you’ve been looking for ways to improve your physical and mental health, from the burnout and fatigue of this past year, a trip into the woods surrounding Broken Bow could be the answer.
An observation made by many is that we are drastically nature-deprived. It's something that's taken a toll on us all. Long stretches of being stuck at home for work (and even time off) has put us in unnatural living conditions that cut us off from the basic needs that our parents and grandparents took for granted.
Simply put, we need to spend more time outside. Recent scientific and health studies show that time in the woods is something we shouldn't live without.
Most of us already know (both abstractly and in our gut) that nature is good for us. We just don't act on this knowledge nearly enough. Scheduling an escape into the forest doesn’t make it to the top of the list as a priority, especially with COVID-19 limiting where we go.
However, exploring the variety of health benefits associated with time spent under the trees might have you rethinking your priorities.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article,
“As people spend more time indoors, a mountain of scientific research says spending time in nature is critical to health and increases longevity. That means being in fresh air, under trees and away from cars and concrete—on a regular basis”
The fact that trees, not simply nature, is something we’ll circle back to.
Additionally: “The average adult spent 11 and a half hours a day consuming media in 2019, according to Nielsen. In 2019, half of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed by the Pew Research Center said they were online almost constantly.” These screen time numbers are expected to increase as more studies are made covering the COVID-19 outbreak of last year and into this year.
Most of us have a problem with the over saturation of screen time and the lack of quality time spent in nature. The pandemic hasn’t made this any better. Physical and mental health have suffered as a result.
Spending time in the woods, however, is the antidote to many of the problems that we currently experience with our confined, limited, and screen-filled pandemic living conditions. Two hours spent in the woods is proven to
Lower blood pressure
Lower heart rate
Decrease stress hormones
Decrease depression and fatigue
Increase natural anti-cancer proteins
Increase natural cancer killer cells
The effects of these natural benefits to walking in the woods last at least seven days. Often much longer. This means that a weekend in the woods will have a noticeable and lasting impact well into your workweek.
What’s important to realize here is that the scope of health benefits received from a walk in the woods is something that is irreplaceable. It’s something that you don’t get from indoor exercise (sorry, gym time and your Peloton bike don’t count here) or even nature in general. These studies hinge on the very literal immersion into the trees.
The forest gives us something that nothing else can.