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Why is walking in the woods so good for you?

Scientists have advanced a wide range of theories about the specific physical and mental benefits nature can provide, ranging from clean air and lack of noise pollution to the apparent immune-boosting effects of a fine mist of “wood essential oils.” But the most powerful benefits, a new study suggests, may result from the way trees and birds and sunsets gently tug – but never grab – at our attention.

The study,..., found that volunteers suffering from depression who took a 50-minute walk in a woodland park improved their cognition, as measured by the ability to remember a random string of digits and repeat them in reverse order, compared to those who took a walk through city streets. An earlier study found similar results in subjects who weren’t depressed.

article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/why-is-walking-in-the-woods-so-good-for-you/article4209703/
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Dale Stanton's profile photoAnthony Gonzalez's profile photoFrank Merchant's profile photoSrijeeta Biswas's profile photo
58 comments
 
Good I had tried and it s real. I was totally refreshed.
 
really wish there were woods to go walking in?!!
 
Yes it's great. For the mountain lion, bear, pack of wolves. Do go in numbers when walking through our national forests because if you go alone you're back on the food chain. 
 
How many people seriously go for a walk in the woods everyday?
-____- (just wondering)
 
+Waishaak Namboothiri I had a similar problem (same error) earlier today when I was getting ready to post - but it returned, so maybe try again in a while.
 
haha, im a totaly hippy when it comes to nature, im all like "i <3 nature man..." "lets go save some trees dude" ;) but thats just me, i <3 our planet!
 
Lions and tigers and bears oh my
 
So if I walk with Google glasses and u see what I see, do u get the same benefit?
 
Did we really need "science" to tell us that leaving the mess of civilization behind for 50 minutes is a good thing? I could have told you that!
 
maybe i should do walk in the woods, might cure my depression... jk
 
For myself, I don't have the means to get outside the city much, if at all. It's a much smaller scale than any national park would offer, but when I walk through the North Woods in Central Park, I can totally forget I'm in the middle of the city. Love it :-)
 
Now i am happy i did that 18km mountain biking trip
 
several ticks to squash each time
 
Ihave been walking in the woods at least once a week for most of my life. It's the best form of relaxation and exersize. 
 
*I don't like most animals. That is why I am not a vegetarian.* 
 
Honest however pure allows people to relate that otherwise may not.
 
It is a good news,maybe I will try it sometimes
 
As a kid there were no exbox/playstation so playing in the woods was fun.Know as an adult
With so many problems,I miss
Those days hanging in the woods with all my friends.Going
to take my son for hike in woods.Away from all electronics.
 
Even as a kid that grew up with Nintendo and SEGA we were always outside playing football, basketball, or capture the flag in the woods.  There is something beneficial, that's not necessarily measurable, about participating in physical activities outdoors.  
 
I live in the Smoky Mountains....specifically..I live on the side of a mountain. I have a 3ft wide front yard and then a straight drop down. It's beautiful here. I walk in the wilderness when I'm on my front porch. The sounds of wildlife and the smell of the air is sweet and pleasant. When I'm stressed out, I leave everything inside and go outside for awhile. Something happens when I do. I feel regrouped and refreshed and then I come back in and log onto Google+ and "nuke" a few more trolls.
 
I want to explore a " Mount Murut" near my village here. I haven't go yet. I want to go and have a sightseeing and do some tracking, but in the future,I think I am not be able to go because some of the GREEDY organization want to destroy my village and other village which near it. To MAKE DAM to supply electricity to the whole Country they said. I just wondering they have build 1 already ( if you have known about it they call it ( BAKUN DAM ) and now there are going to build another at BARAM area. ( SUNGAI BARAM ) I have lived outside of my village all this time but that doesn't mean we don't love our village. That's our culture and have been inherit by our ancestor for hundred decades. It give us our cultures and tales to be told. If someone ever interested in this, please visit ( BORNEO, ISLAND OF HORNBILL )  we are just going to promote our culture and sharing the beautiful of our land, Alas! it's going to be totally destroyed for some unreasonable project. I want to do homestay here. So many beauty places to explores, and sharing with outsides world. ;(
 
There's nothing more that I love than to go for a quick 30 min run on some forest trails. Watching the seasons come and go along the same trails gives me a new experience every time. I've read other research stating that time in the wilderness can alleviate some of the behavioral patterns associated with ADHD. 

For someone motivated enough, this could be a great longer term research project.
 
"_Why is walking in the woods so good for you?_"  I didn't see where that has been established/proven, but I will theorize.
 
If it's so, it is on the psychological/emotional side of things, not the physical. By [theoretically] removing one's self from the technological/mechanical world and immersing it into the natural world, it would give one's psyche a little time to reset and return to its own being at least for a little while - if allowed to do so.
 
+Dale Stanton I think there are multiple factors converging here. Walking, by itself, is good for you. So walking through the woods would also be good for you in general, but maybe not much more so than walking anywhere else from a purely physical perspective.

From a psychological/emotional perspective, it would be interesting to study the differences between walking in the woods and simply sitting in the woods for equal amounts of time. I suspect the effects would be similar, but possibly not. 
 
So we respond well to nature. Who knew? 
 
it's good for us to breathe in forest after raining, but I can stay only a short time in deep forest lol
 
+Brad Kasprzak, you're right. I was theorizing. The title strongly suggests that it is better than walking, say, in the mall or through your neighborhood. Yes, the terrain could make a difference. If we assume that both routes are equally level/flat and equally solid, I doubt there would be any difference.
 
The additional statement, "_Scientists have advanced a wide range of theories about the specific physical and mental benefits nature can provide,..._" uses the word "can", indicating that they have nothing to back up the suggestion they want you to believe. They seem to be throwing bait out for people to bite it at face value.
 
My thoughts? One should walk wherever they want and not let studies and reports like this deter them their neighborhood treks in favor of a wilderness stroll. No need burning gas getting to a forested area.
 
As for the study, if it's on one's own dime it would be interesting. If the government would fund it, nope.
 
"I hear that bears can smell the menstruation"
 
+Dale Stanton Agreed, I was also thrown off by the "wide range of theories" assertion. This leaves too much up for debate. 

Basically this all boils down to:
Exercise (even light walking) = good
Time in the wilderness = probably good (unsubstantiated)

I personally feel that time in the wilderness is restorative, but don't have any specific data to back it up. 

Maybe the US Forest Service should sponsor a study ;)
 
I would agree with all except one little thing, +Brad Kasprzak. That being the government sponsoring it. :)
 
I went back to nature to find myself, only to find that I'd never left.
Mary Wa
 
I just like walking in the woods, that's all!
 
nah
walking in the city is better
its trains and cars and skyscrapers and shit
how is that not way more cool than forest and
like
more forest
woods are a giant tree laden carpet of no one gives a shit
like mother nature spread her nasty dressing everywhere and decided to make the landscape her personal asshole sandwich
when i look at woods all i see is the miles of unharnessed stickmen and utensils im just too damn cool to build
 
Pep Cookiedoe, Skoti Brendel,
Your crude, vulgar expression would have no meaning in a forest. That's why walking in a forest is preferable.
If you get older, either of you, you'll probably inderstand.
 
ahahahaha
im twenty four dude
and im mainly joking
satire is fun to do
if i wanted to start a meaningful debate about forest walks vs city strlls i would use vulgar crude expression you obtuse trash
 
+Srijeeta Biswas not sure where you live but in Austin,TX it's very very common. There are so many trees here and natural rivers/lakes to swim in. This might explain why people who visit here end up moving here
 
im going to agree with skoti
get an avatar and shut thef fuck up robert :D
 
what i just said is pretty funny considering my real name is the same as the one trying to ruin my fun
but you can all call me pep, its more catchy simple and short
 
That's a good description of you  - catchy, simple and short
 
I find it interesting that no one has mentioned the effects on the immune system. Aside from the general benefits, walking in an environment not fully controlled by humans introduces new microorganisms that can be beneficial to our digestive track as well as help us avoid getting sick in the future by strengthening our immune system.
 
+Kandice Dalgety  The effects are mostly accumulative over time which is why no one really thinks about it. In small doses the effects aren't really noticeable.
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