Why a walk in the woods might save your life ... really

Spring has sprung and your local forest is stirring into life so what better time for a walk in the woods.

Still reluctant? Well, it turns out that walking in the woods is more than just a pleasant way to spend an hour or two - it might actually prolong your life.

The Japanese have a word for it: "shinrin-yoku" or forest bathing. It's the sensory experience of being among trees. It's a rich form of physically active mindfulness. Forest bathers are encouraged to put away their mobiles and their headphones, and instead activate all their senses to interact with the forest environment.

It has immediate benefits. A study of Japanese office workers showed a 13% drop in their levels of the stress hormone cortisol after a walk in the woods, and the forest also improved the workers ability to focus and reduced their blood pressure.

Luckily in Ireland, we have outstanding woodlands just waiting to be visited and a new 10 part TV series filmed all over the country showcases our rich woodland heritage.

In Crainn na hÉireann, a new series for TG4 that starts Tuesday April 5th at 8pm, Manchán Magan has explored the woodlands of Ireland, focusing on our Irish native trees like the oak, the ash, the yew and the birch.

He finds some of Ireland's most impressive trees - the Great Yew of Muckross Abbey, Kerry, the King Oak of Charleville Castle, Offaly, the original Irish Yew at Florencecourt, Fermanagh and Ireland's tallest tree - a spectacular Douglas Fir hidden deep in the Powerscourt estate in Wicklow.

In Episode One he visits spectacular forests in Wicklow, Donegal and Galway on the hunt for the most magnificent of our native conifers - the Scots Pine.

Don't miss.


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