Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 26; Last Class: March 9.
Walking has been used for spiritual, physical, and psychological purposes across human history. Why does a walk in the woods, or along a river, often leave us feeling relaxed and refreshed? In an increasingly urban world, can we maintain this integral part of the human experience? How might our health and well-being be compromised if we can’t? The class will examine these questions through classic works by Rousseau, Emerson, and Thoreau as well as newer meditations by modern writers like Frederic Gros and Rebecca Solnit. Alongside these readings, the class will learn about the ways psychology research seeks to categorize and quantify the phenomena expressed in the philosophic and literary readings. We will focus on research investigating relationships between exposure to natural environments and stress, exercise, ambient environment factors, and health.