Contributed by Marie Ingegneri, Marketing Coordinator, Morris Arboretum

Most of us start the New Year with a list of resolutions to exercise more, reduce stress, reconnect with friends and in general be healthier.  Did you know that all this can be accomplished with a visit to Morris Arboretum, which features an outstanding collection of majestic trees?

In Japan, “forest bathing”, or shinrin-yoku, which means taking time in the forest atmosphere, is recognized for its many health benefits, both physical and mental.  In fact, numerous studies have indicated that spending time near trees restores cognitive functioning, increases energy level and improves sleep and mood.  Reports prove that simply sitting on a bench looking at trees reduces blood pressure as well as the stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Taking a walk in the forest also allows you to breath in phytoncides, an airborne chemical produced by trees that has been shown to increase certain types of white blood cells in our bodies known as natural killer cells (NK) that fight tumor- and virus-infected cells in our bodies.

Morris Arboretum has 92-acres of trees-a veritable one-stop health center.  So, grab a friend, or make a new one, and enjoy one of the many outdoor activities scheduled this winter, such as Wellness Walks, every Saturday morning at 10:30am November-March.  Guided tours are offered at 2pm every weekend on both Saturday and Sunday. And check out the special tree tours planned including, the Conifer Tour on January 28, Winter Witchhazel Walks on February 18 & 25 and Pop-Up Cherry Blossoms Tours in March and April.  Note that the Arboretum’s one mile paved path loop is maintained, so guests may focus on the trees and not possible debris underfoot. 

If you seek quiet time, the garden has many secluded sites with benches perfect for being still within the forest. Appreciate nature as it nourishes you. Now that’s a resolution that is stress-free.