Chattanooga is without a doubt, submerged in numerous outdoor activities and inhabited by people who are willing to support organizations that protect the lands we play on. But, did you also know that protection and support for land preservation guarantees your health?
An article published by Outdoor Industry Association, presents a study conducted by the Finnish Forest Research Institute stating,
“Forty eight percent of Americans participate in outdoor recreation activities, which have been proven to reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease and other health problems. The research shows that those benefits extend to our immune systems. Forest visits increase the quantity of natural killer cells in the body which effectively kill tumor cells by releasing anticancer proteins.”
Rock/Creek openly expresses our support for activities and elements that link customers to healthy lifestyles. We also provide the gear necessary to get you outside to enjoy our natural playgrounds. Therefore, for your health, get outside and play!
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Read the full article from the Outdoor Industry Association below:
Aug 18, 2010
Climate change threatens new-found health benefits of forests
As citizens around the world pay increasingly more attention to the threat of global climate change, scientists are developing new perspectives on the value of our natural landscapes. For thousands of years, mountains, forests and plains have offered abundant supplies of minerals, timber and grain, and governments have long placed an economic value on extraction of these resources. More recently, urban growth shifted public attitude toward these natural spaces to include an appreciation of their wilderness and recreational value. Now that the threat of climate change is becoming more of a reality, pertinent questions addressing the consequences of a warming globe are unlocking new answers about the health and medicinal value of forests and green spaces.
Recent research on forests and their health benefits by the Finnish Forest Research Institute explores the many ways that forests function as a health improving resource around the world. According to the report, forest environments promote mental and physical health by encouraging recreational activities, helping to reduce stress, offering bioactive compounds that can be used in medicine, and by regulating the spread of infectious diseases.
Forty eight percent of Americans participate in outdoor recreation activities, which have been proven to reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease and other health problems. The research shows that those benefits extend to our immune systems. Forest visits increase the quantity of natural killer cells in the body which effectively kill tumor cells by releasing anticancer proteins. Time spent in forests has been shown to significantly reduce cortisol (stress hormone) production in the brain. Macro fungi found in forests have been shown to have antimicrobial effects, powerfully inhibiting the growth of bacteria and cancerous cells.
Some governments have already instituted programs to maximize the effect of forests and green spaces on health. In Japan, certain public and private lands and forests that have been scientifically proven to exhibit health benefits are granted special “forest therapy base” designation. The Green Gym program in the U.K. encourages physical activity while offering opportunities to participate in public work projects to improve green spaces. First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside initiative aims to get more youth in the outdoors in order to help curb the U.S. childhood obesity epidemic.
The Finnish study lists a series of threats to the health value of forests. Climate change is at the top of the list. Warming temperatures would increase the risk of fire danger and place millions of acres of forests in jeopardy. Outdoor Industry Association is lobbying Congress for funding for climate adaptation projects on public land as part of comprehensive climate change legislation. This money would help preserve the economic, health and recreational benefits of our national forest lands.