Low climate impact and prescription barefoot walking

The health effects of reducing the climatic footprint have proven to be good in Finnish Lahti.

Juha-Pekka Huotari / Lahden kaup

Walking barefoot in the forest is good for health. A Finnish pilot study showed that for both the individual and the planet.
Just getting out the door has a positive effect, comments Patrick Grahn, a professor at SLU Alnarp who has researched the relationship between health and nature.

Walking barefoot in the forest is good for health. A Finnish pilot study showed that for both the individual and the planet.

Just getting out the door has a positive effect, comments Patrick Grahn, a professor at SLU Alnarp who has researched the relationship between health and nature.

It is commonly said that one should strive for a healthy soul in a healthy body. In Finnish lattes, they aim even higher. Here, five residents participated in an experiment to see if personal health could be improved by reducing the climatic footprint. A healthy body on a healthy planet if you will.

The first Finnish planetary health doctor, Hana Haveri

The first Finnish doctor in the field of planetary health, Hanna Haveri

Photo: Lassi Häkkinen / Lahden kaupunk

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In Lattis, Finland’s first planetary health doctor, Hanna Haveri, created health plans for five residents. They, in turn, were of different ages and at different stages of life. From families with children to retirees. The participants’ climatic footprint and health values ​​were observed before and after the two-month trial period.

Individually designed health plans included everything from exercise to swapping dairy products for locally grown herbs to walking barefoot in the woods and planting wildflower meadows in the garden.

30-year-old Markus Kontinen was one of the participants who received a plan focused on mindfulness and recovery. It included going for a barefoot walk in the woods after running.

I am a performance oriented person and this has helped me relax and take an interest in my recovery.

Women in the woods walking barefoot

Walking barefoot is prescribed

Photo: TT

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The experience also showed a significant improvement in values ​​in his fatigue levels.

Other participants received positive receipts as lost risk Type 2 diabetes At the same time their climate footprint has been significantly reduced.

nature stress relief

It’s no surprise that experiences of nature can have a positive effect on our mood, but the new findings reinforce the link. Patrick Grahn, Professor of Landscape Architecture at SLU Alnarp, has been researching the relationship between health and nature for more than 30 years.

The only thing that is clear is that stress levels are reduced by being in natural areas. The relaxing effect applies to most natural areas, provided it is light, says the professor, listing healthy outdoor experiences.

Just getting the sun on your face does its job.

Just access to sunlight is enough to stimulate the regeneration of vitamins D and endorphins. You are simply happier with sun and daylight.

Another important effect of nature experiments is that they do not require concentration or sorting, for example, working in front of a computer screen requires. Noting a rustle in the bush or a flash of a river stream are relaxing experiences.

This kind of attention costs nothing. Nature is so full of impressions that you can only rest. It favors alertness and leads to the restoration of focus and ability to think.

Patrick Grahn, Professor, SLU

Professor Patrick Grahn researches the relationship between nature and health.

Photo: Marian Pearson

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These effects are well documented, but there are several new studies that point to other positive effects of staying in nature.

Trees in the forest secrete essential oils (phytoncides) that can have a strengthening effect on the immune system. Regular gardening also has, according to several studies, healing properties.

There has been a lot of research on it in recent years. Among other countries in France and Germany. In studies, it was found that the bacteria in the soil were good for strengthening our immune system and reducing the risk of developing allergies. They form a protective microbiome on the skin and respiratory tract, as well as in the nasal and oral cavity.

Do you walk barefoot in the forest, according to the Finnish study?

We have many senses in our bodies. Maybe up to eleven. We can feel pressure, cold, heat, and soft touch with the skin, for example. And only walking barefoot in the woods can you feel things that you could not feel in front of a computer, for example. There are studies that show that peaceful, multisensory experiences in nature stimulate our calm hormone oxytocin, also called the love hormone, which stimulates health and healing.

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