Shinrin-yoku (forest-air bathing and walking) effectively decreases blood glucose levels in diabetic patients
The influence of ''shinrin-yoku'' (forest-air bathing and walking) on blood glucose levels in diabetic patients was examined. Eighty-seven (29 male and 58 female) non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients [61 (SEM 1) years old] participated in the present study. Shinrin-yoku was performed nine times over a period of 6 years. The patients were divided into two parties. They then walked in the forest for 3 km or 6 km according to their physical ability and/or the existence of diabetic complications. The mean blood glucose level after forest walking changed from 179 (SEM 4) mg . 100 ml-1 to 108 (SEM 2) mg . 100 ml-1 (P<0.0001). The level of glycated haemoglobin A1c also decreased from 6.9 (SEM 0.2)% (before the first shinrin-yoku) to 6.5 (SEM 0.1)% (after the last shinrin-yoku; P<0.05). Blood glucose values declined by 74 (SEM 9) mg . 100 ml-1 and 70 (SEM 4) mg . 100 ml-1 after short- and long-distance walking respectively. There was no significant difference between these values. Since the forest environment causes changes in hormonal secretion and autonomic nervous functions, it is presumed that, in addition to the increased calorie consumption and improved insulin sensitivity, walking in a forest environment has other beneficial effects in decreasing blood glucose levels.