Forest Bathing Is Better than Walking in Urban Park: Comparison of Cardiac and Vascular Function between Urban and Forest Parks

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Mar 15;19(6):3451. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19063451.

Abstract

Forest bathing is beneficial for human health. To investigate whether walking in forest or urban parks affects cardiovascular functions (CVFs), the present study was conducted in five forest trails in the Xitou Experimental Forest and in five urban parks in Taipei city. We recruited 25 adult volunteers for an observational pilot study in forest parks (n = 14) and urban parks (n = 11). CVFs were assessed by measuring the arterial pressure waveform using an oscillometric blood pressure (BP) device. The baseline and paired differences of systolic BP (SBP), central end SBP, heart rate, left ventricle (LV) dP/dt max and cardiac output in participants were lower before and after walking in a forest park than those in an urban park. In addition, the systemic vascular compliance and brachial artery compliance of those who walked in a forest park were significantly higher compared with those in an urban park. Linear mixed models demonstrated lower levels of SBP by 5.22 mmHg, heart rate by 2.46 beats/min, and cardiac output by 0.52 L/min, and LV dP/dt max by 146.91 mmHg/s among those who walked in forest compared to those in an urban park after controlling covariates. This study provides evidence of the potential beneficial effects of walking exercise in forest parks on CVFs.

Keywords: blood pressure; cardiovascular function; forest bathing; urban park; walking exercise.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Exercise
  • Forests
  • Humans
  • Parks, Recreational*
  • Walking*