The Helsana trails are not just great places to exercise but are also perfect for relaxing in the fresh air. These three techniques can be practised on all trails.
Forest bathing is nothing to do with swimming in forest lakes. Rather, it is about immersing yourself in the depths of the forest. The natural environment helps you relax. Focus on your senses. See, hear, smell and taste. Move through the forest slowly or even sit down somewhere. Notice the tweeting of birds, the many scents in the air and the diversity of plants.
In Japan, forest bathing is a well-known method of relaxation and stress management. Studies have shown that it helps reduce stress hormone levels. It can also decrease anxiety, depression and anger. Vitality is consequently restored. Forest bathing therefore has a positive impact on well-being.
Barefoot walking stimulates the circulation, which in turn strengthens the immune system. The sole of the foot is a sophisticated tactile organ. Nerve endings pass on information about the ground conditions. These impact our motor coordination, similarly to how our sense of balance works. However, our feet cannot perceive this information when wearing shoes. Studies have shown that people who often walk barefoot suffer from fewer issues with their feet in old age. Feet are more mobile, with stronger muscles and tendons.
The human foot needs a little time to get used to barefoot walking. For beginners, forest floors, meadows and moss are good surfaces. Make sure you keep your eyes on the ground to avoid injury. Shards of glass or a bee could quickly turn the calming experience into a nightmare. Watch out for roots and lift your feet higher than you would normally.
Special barefoot trails exist, but the Helsana trails also lend themselves to barefoot walking.
Stand with your shoulders wide open. Bend your knees slightly and assume a relaxed posture. Lift your arms to chest height in front of you. Breathe in and spread your arms apart to the sides. Notice how your lungs fill deeply with fresh air. When breathing out, slowly bring your arms together again. Focus on allowing all negativity to leave your body. Now, slowly lower your arms and place your hands on your stomach. Spend a little time like this. Repeat the entire exercise several times and feel yourself relax.