Why woods are good for our health and wellbeing

For most of us, a walk in the woods brings a sense of wellbeing and peacefulness. There is good evidence to suggest that being outdoors amongst nature relieves stress, helps combating anxiety, and can even stabilise blood pressure. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected many people's mental health. Across the UK, many woodland trusts are working to promote the health benefits of visiting their green spaces to showcase some of the many benefits that visiting a woodland can bring. Here at Ecochoice, we are advocates of the great outdoors; we wanted to share some of the excellent health benefits of visiting your local forest.

Mental health benefits

Mental health conditions have shown to be longer-lasting and have a more significant impact on the individual than any other health condition. It’s a serious concern when you consider that 1 in 4 individuals will be affected by a mental illness in their lifetime. Getting outdoors amongst trees has been proven to boost mood and reduce stress and anxiety.

Physical health

Simply being in the woods for a short amount of time can benefit your physical health in many ways. There are, of course, mental health benefits, including reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. In addition, spending time in a forest has also been linked to speeding up recovery after surgery, increasing anti-cancer cells, and reducing blood pressure.

Physical exercise

The restrictions over the last year have meant many of us have abandoned our exercise regimes. Gyms and class closures and generally getting out less have led to a decrease in physical activity. Over a quarter of adults in the UK are now considered obese. Exercising in the woods can provide an ideal setting for physical activity in a much more pleasant environment than your average gym. 

It can make your brain work better

Children who regularly play in forest environments or attend forest schools have shown to have better cognitive skills as well as being able to assess risks better than their peers who attend education in enclosed spaces. Even a day out allows children to learn about the importance of trees and how they help our planet. As well as learning about nature and forest maintenance.

There are many fantastic benefits of visiting a woodland or green space. In 2021 it’s more vital than ever that we prioritise our mental health and wellbeing, and a trip to your local forest is a great way to boost your health. If you are unsure where your local woodland is, you can visit the Forestry England website to search your region. 

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