There is a growing awareness that spending time in nature is associated with improvement of well-being; nevertheless, the prescription of forest bathing is still limited. The aim of this systematic review was to explore the physiological and psychological benefits of different forest therapies on healthy and pathological elderly populations (>60 years) to identify the most-effective type, duration, and frequency of these interventions. A search for literature was carried out in December 2021 using PubMed, EMBASE, ResearchGate, Google Scholar and Web of Science. Grey literature was searched as well. After removal of the duplicates, within the 214 articles identified, ten met the inclusion criteria. The methodological quality of the selected studies was rated. Forest walking, alone and in combination with other activities is the most effective intervention. The selected studies reported a positive impact on physical components, including reduction in blood pressure and heart rate and improvements in cardiopulmonary and neurochemical parameters. Favorable modifications have also been noted in the psychological field, with improvements in depression, stress levels and in quality of life perception. In conclusion, forest walking may play an important role in promoting physical and mental health in healthy and pathological elderly populations. However, the lack of high-quality studies limits the strength of the results, calling for more trials.

Effects of forest walking on physical and mental health in elderly populations: a systematic review

Piva, G
Co-primo
;
Caruso, L
Co-primo
;
Calzolari, M;Visintin, EP;Davoli, P;Manfredini, F;Storari, A;Spinozzi, P
Penultimo
;
Lamberti, N
Ultimo
2024

Abstract

There is a growing awareness that spending time in nature is associated with improvement of well-being; nevertheless, the prescription of forest bathing is still limited. The aim of this systematic review was to explore the physiological and psychological benefits of different forest therapies on healthy and pathological elderly populations (>60 years) to identify the most-effective type, duration, and frequency of these interventions. A search for literature was carried out in December 2021 using PubMed, EMBASE, ResearchGate, Google Scholar and Web of Science. Grey literature was searched as well. After removal of the duplicates, within the 214 articles identified, ten met the inclusion criteria. The methodological quality of the selected studies was rated. Forest walking, alone and in combination with other activities is the most effective intervention. The selected studies reported a positive impact on physical components, including reduction in blood pressure and heart rate and improvements in cardiopulmonary and neurochemical parameters. Favorable modifications have also been noted in the psychological field, with improvements in depression, stress levels and in quality of life perception. In conclusion, forest walking may play an important role in promoting physical and mental health in healthy and pathological elderly populations. However, the lack of high-quality studies limits the strength of the results, calling for more trials.
2024
Piva, G; Caruso, L; Gomez, Ac; Calzolari, M; Visintin, Ep; Davoli, P; Manfredini, F; Storari, A; Spinozzi, P; Lamberti, N
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2497648
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