Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.Les Brown
The combination of hiking and forest bathing makes it possible to maximize the positive influence of nature on body and mind and at the same time offers space for profound philosophical thoughts. When we focus on the here and now while hiking and allow our thoughts to flow freely, we can gain new insights and find answers to questions that may have escaped us in our hectic everyday lives.
Scents of the forest contribute to our relaxation. The essential oils emitted by trees and plants, known as phytoncides, have been shown to have a relaxing and immune-boosting effect on the human body. So it’s no coincidence that we feel refreshed and invigorated after a walk in the forest – our senses pick up on the healing atmosphere, and our bodies respond.
The sounds of the forest – the chirping of birds, the rustling of leaves in the wind and the babbling of a brook – have a calming effect on our nervous system and can reduce stress. Studies have shown that even a short stay in the forest can lower cortisol levels, a stress hormone, in the body and increase general well-being.
The forest is not only a place of rest and recreation, but also a fascinating ecosystem that holds many secrets. The trees that make up the forest are far more than mere plants – they are interconnected and communicate in ways we have only begun to understand in recent years. For example, trees can exchange chemical signals through their roots and underground fungal network to warn each other of danger or share resources. This discovery has fundamentally changed our view of the forest and shown us that trees are, in a sense, social beings that live and cooperate in communities.
Walking is one of the oldest and most natural forms of locomotion. Even our ancestors covered long distances on foot in search of food or to explore new areas. Today, hiking offers a welcome change from everyday life and a way to exercise while enjoying the beauty of nature. Studies have shown that hiking has numerous positive effects on physical and mental health, including strengthening the cardiovascular system, promoting muscle strength and improving mood. Interestingly, hiking also has a meditative component: The steady rhythm of walking and immersion in nature can cause thoughts to flow more freely and the mind to relax.