Going to the forest is like going home.
The forest is Icebug's heart. It's our home turf. We make shoes for the forest, and we try to spend as much time as possible in it. That's why we have our office right next to a nature reserve in Jonsered. The forest provides energy, joy, and tranquility to everyone who spends time in it. Here, we gather tips on the very best the forest has to offer. Welcome to join us.
Seek out really old and tall forests
What type of forest suits you best? Depending on who you are, the answer may vary. But there are actually some indications of "good forest" according to research. The forest that is considered the best for rehabilitation purposes is really old forest. It should be at least 70 years old and 16 meters tall.
"There are few places as far away from the connected life as a calm and rustling forest. It provides energy and harmony. In many cases, I actually believe that the forest is better than many medicines."
As little as 20 minutes a day in a forest has a positive impact on stress, blood pressure, and pulse.
The fact that the forest gives us a sense of calm is not just something we believe – it's proven. There is a wealth of research going on about the positive health effects a moment in the forest can have. And there are many! The best part is that it's neither complicated nor requires extensive preparations. Here are 6 good and simple things the forest provides – completely free!
Columnar halls are worth seeking out - and enjoying if you find them.
What type of forest suits you best? Depending on who you are, the answer may vary. But there are actually some indications of "good forest" according to research. According to studies, the best type of forest for rehabilitation purposes is really old forest. It should be at least 70 years old and 16 meters tall.
Many of us have a small glade or place in nature that we particularly enjoy. A place we like to return to. The question is how we choose these favorite spots and what it takes for a place to qualify as "calm and pleasant."
Thick undergrowth may not be something you think about right now. And you're not alone. Dense undergrowth is the type of forest that people like the least. According to Anders Lindhagen, a researcher at SLU, it is even better to have clear-cut areas than dense undergrowth.
So, what's the most preferred type? According to Lindhagen, it's mature and thinned columnar halls. Columnar halls are places in the forest with tall trees, such as pines, that filter light down to the ground. According to several surveys, many people consider it to be one of the most beautiful things. Do you have a columnar hall near you? You might not have realized it, or perhaps you didn't know it was called that. In any case, it might be worth looking for one - and enjoying it if you do find one.
Shorelines are also popular
Columnar halls rank high in other research on similar topics. Participants in a study at Umeå University's Forest and Health program have been given the opportunity to spend time in the forest for better well-being since 2006. There were eight different locations to choose for their rehabilitation. What was most popular? A shoreline by a lake. This was followed by forests with large rock outcrops and sparse pine forests, as well as columnar halls.
After these places, forests with tall spruce trees came next. A bit like classic enchanted forests in fairy tales. That kind of forest gives a sense of shelter.
77% of Sweden is forest
According to researcher Elisabet Sonntag Öström, who is interviewed in connection with this study, these choices may have to do with how humans have lived throughout history. Having an overview, protection, and access to water. It's not surprising that many people nowadays are attracted to living near water, preferably a bit higher up and with some trees around the house to provide privacy.
Research on the possibilities of the forest for health continues. What it will result in is still unclear, but you don't have to wait for that. The statement that most of us feel good in the forest is something that doesn't really need the approval of research. Approximately 77% of Sweden's area is actually covered by forest. So go out and enjoy – the whole country is full of opportunities.
Here are some sources:
skogsfors.se - kunskapsbank
The Nature Heritage
The Nature Heritage Foundation aims to purchase valuable old-growth forests. Icebug has been collaborating with the Nature Heritage Foundation for some time. Would you like to help too?
When the body is in a stressed state, which is often the case in our high-tech society, non-essential functions are shut down. We are wired to defend ourselves and be ready to fight or flee. However, when you take a trip to the forest, your body experiences calm, tranquility, and a sense of safety, allowing it to work on long-term improvements, reproduction, and building up the immune system.
Research has shown that as little as 20 minutes a day in the forest has a positive impact on stress levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. The forest provides the ideal environment for unwinding and relaxing. It offers a break from the fast-paced, technology-driven world, allowing your body to restore balance and focus on enhancing overall well-being.
So, if you're looking to truly unwind and improve your immune system, the forest is the perfect place to do so. Take the time to connect with nature, let go of stress, and allow your body to engage in the essential processes that contribute to better health and a stronger immune system.
Forget about your headphones, listen to the birds chirping and the trees rustling. When you're in the tranquility that the forest creates, you have the opportunity to let your thoughts wander freely and allow your body to "catch up." According to a dissertation at Umeå University, it's about self-chosen solitude, combined with the forest's lack of demands and the feeling of freedom, that contributes to well-being. Sit on a tree stump in the forest (without your phone!) and just be. It's harder than you think.
Even shorter stays in the forest can have significant health benefits, particularly for individuals with burnout syndrome. Several projects have demonstrated that people suffering from burnout syndrome experience improved well-being when in the forest compared to being in urban or indoor environments. In Japan, "forest bathing" has been part of the national healthcare system since 1982. It has been proven that these forest visits not only reduce stress and similar symptoms but also make us less aggressive and depressed. Several other countries are now following in Japan's footsteps. This is great news, we say!
It is not possible to mention all the good things about the forest without mentioning all the goodness that grows there. In winter, it may be more challenging, but it doesn't make outdoor dining any less cozy! Pack your backpack with what you enjoy and have dinner/breakfast/snacks in nature during winter. Everything tastes better outdoors, and you'll get plenty of fresh air. If you want even more things to eat, we can suggest taking a look here:
The incidence of several diseases, including depression, anxiety, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, asthma, and migraines, is lower among individuals living within one kilometer of a green area. This is according to a Dutch study.
This is a tip directly from us at Icebug. Our office is located right by a nature reserve where we have kilometers of forests, lakes, and trails. We are often there. Almost every lunch break, actually. It's so beautiful here that we decided to invite others to experience it, and that's why we started Backyard Trail. Having a forest near you is a luxury. Use it, often and respectfully. And share the beauty with more people who need to get out!