Saturday, June 25, 2016

Reason No. 39 to hike: Reduce inflammation

Should you need to reduce inflammation, then you might want to risk stubbing your toes on trees. Two studies - one for young adults and the other for the elderly - show that spending time in a forest helps decrease swelling.

The first study compared inflammation levels of university students who went on a two-night trip to the woods with those who spent the same amount of time in the city. The youth who got back to nature had lower levels.

In a similar study, elderly patients who went on a week-long trip to a forest showed fewer signs of inflammation. Their hypertension also improved.

Inflammation, a natural process, occurs when the body deals with threats such as damage (like a pinched finger) and pathogens (like those that cause the flu). Lower inflammation levels suggest that being in nature helped the body better handle those dangers.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.