There is something about being out among the grass and trees that feels good for our hearts and souls. People have known this for generations. There is even a name for it in Japanese culture where a walk in the woods is called “Shinrin-Roku,” which translates to “forest bathing,” and is believed to be a sort of therapy.
Scientists have explored the physical, emotional, and mental benefits of hiking in nature. Below are three reasons you should consider getting outside and taking your own “nature bath” during this warm New England summer:
- Hiking can help decrease feelings of hopelessness: Results from a 2012 study suggest that mountain hiking, as an add-on therapy to usual care, is associated with a decrease in feelings of hopelessness and depression.
- Hiking can improve your cognitive ability: A group of researchers and participants completed a pre and post-test to determine their cognitive ability before and after a four day hike in the wilderness. Their research showed an average group improvement of 45%.
- Hiking can improve your physical health: Besides burning calories, hiking can help you tone your whole body, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and even has shown to improve antioxidative capacity, which aids us in fighting off disease.
Massachusetts has a lot to offer when it comes to hiking availability. Whatever part of Massachusetts you call home likely has a great (and free) hike within a 45-minute drive. Check out this list to find out what’s near you.
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