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Doctor's orders: Take a hike

Mount Rainier, or Tahoma, Tacobet, Ti'Swaq or Pooskaus.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott
Take two walks in the woods and call me in the morning.

Your list of errands for the weekend might include picking up a prescription — but just imagine if that meant going for a walk in the woods.

For some, that's exactly what the doctor ordered.

Sunday is National Park Prescriptions Day, which encourages health care providers to prescribe time in nature to reduce stress and improve patient health. 

Mary Krauszer, a park ranger at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, said so-called "forest bathing" is becoming a popular form of relaxation therapy.

“Visitors experience things like serenity and peace while they’re in the forest," Krauszer said. "It’s a good way for them to slow down and just enjoy being where they are instead of the stress of daily life and work."

The outdoors have long been credited with improved health. A  Japanese study from 2009 found trees release compounds that reduce stress hormones.

Krauszer said Point Defiance has a number of activities planned for Sunday.

“Things like nature walks, tree walks, and a full day of drop-in, nature-based activities for people of all ages,” she said.  

And since today is Arbor Day, consider this a friendly reminder to get some fresh air.

Year started with KUOW: 2013
Year started with KUOW: 2015