20 minutes of forest walking drops perceived stress levels significantly

Walking in the woods lowers your stress levels, right? Well, maybe. Depends how you measure stress.

apanese researchers had ten older men, aged 64-74, take a 1000 meter self-paced walk in the woods.

Before, immediately afterwards, and 20 and 40 minutes afterwards saliva samples were collected and the men filled out brief questionnaires.

On a different day the men sat at their desks for the same period, provided samples, and answered the same questions.

Samples were tested for cortisol and chromogranin A, two markers for stress. Taking the walk boosted chromogranin A levels and had no effect on cortisol level; staying at a desk lowered both cortisol and chromogranin A levels.

Feelings of tiredness and being uplifted increased during the walk and perceived stress fell; no changes in any of those measures were noted while sitting at a desk. Obviously the relationship between walking in nature and stress are complicated.