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Physiological and Psychological Effects of Walking Around and Viewing a Lake in a Forest Environment

산림 내 호수 주변에서의 산책과 경관감상이 인체에 미치는 생리적, 심리적 영향

  • Song, Chorong (Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University) ;
  • Lee, Juyoung (Korea Forest Service) ;
  • Ikei, Harumi (Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University) ;
  • Kagawa, Takahide (Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute) ;
  • Miyazaki, Yoshifumi (Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University) ;
  • Park, Bum-Jin (Department of Environment & Forest Resources, Chungnam National University)
  • 송초롱 (일본 치바대학 환경건강필드과학센터) ;
  • 이주영 (산림청) ;
  • ;
  • ;
  • ;
  • 박범진 (충남대학교 산림환경자원학과)
  • Received : 2014.05.09
  • Accepted : 2015.01.06
  • Published : 2015.03.31

Abstract

The aim of this study was to clarify the physiological and psychological effects of walking around and viewing a lake in a forest environment. The subjects included 11 male Japanese university students (age: $22.0{\pm}1.2$ years) who were randomly assigned to visit either a forest or an urban (control) setting. They were instructed to walk a predetermined 15-min course and to view the setting from a seated position for 15 min. Heart rate variability, heart rate, blood pressure, pulse rate, and salivary cortisol levels were measured to assess the subject's physiological responses to the environment. Four questionnaires (SD method, reports of "refreshed" feeling, POMS, and STAI) were administered to assess the subjects' psychological responses. It was found that walking around and viewing a lake in a forest environment can suppress sympathetic nerve activity, increase parasympathetic nerve activity, and decrease the heart rate, blood pressure, pulse rate, and cortisol levels. In addition, a forest environment can enhance the "comfortable," "soothing," "natural," and "refreshed" feelings, improve the mood state, and reduce anxiety. These results provide scientific evidence of the physiological and psychological effects of forest therapy.

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