by Bill Miller
My wonderful wife does a great job of watching out for me. In fact, she does a better job of keeping me healthy than I do! It’s a sure sign that she loves me, I guess. She wants to keep me around as long as possible!
That wonderful lady also does a great job of keeping me informed about all things health, nutrition, vitality (and all that other kind of stuff), so it was no surprise when I found a page she’d torn from Experience Life magazine sitting on top of my “stack of stuff” at home. The circled news article was titled, “How Forests Boost Immunity.”
The short piece detailed research that shows spending time in nature lowers blood pressure, pulse rate, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as boosting your immune system. I always assumed these kind of healthful reasons are why I’ve always been to the outdoors, but now somebody is trying to prove it.
In the study covered in the article, in Japan 12 healthy men between the ages of 37 and 55 took a three-day, two-night trip into the forest. On the first day the men spent two hours in the afternoon walking in the forest. On the second day they walked in the forest for two hours in the morning and two more hours again in the afternoon.
Blood samples tested on Day Two and Day Three showed that in 11 of the 12 men there was a 50 percent increase in natural “disease killer” cells. These cells are one of the main components of the immune system and play a central role in fighting tumors, viruses, and more.
The Experience Life article went on to say, “Researchers believe that the increase in natural killer cells is in part a response to phytonocides, the essential oils in wood that help protect it from insects and rotting.” They also said that the immune benefits from a trip to the woods can last for up to a month or more after exposure!
Six hours in the woods over the course of three days can do all that? If this is all true, then I and my fellow Quebec hunters and anglers ought never to get sick again! It sort of proves the old adage: “God does not count against the days of our lives those spent hunting or fishing.” Amen!
But wait! Excuse me! Was that a faint cough I just did?
I need to get back into the woods – NOW!!!! Thanks for the article, Honey! This next hunting trip may save my life!