Nature Walks Equal Outdoor Smarts

Fresh Air for a Fresh Mind

Behavior and health experts at the University of Michigan have found that walking outside in parks or in nature helps improve attention span and memory performance by 20 percent. The researchers, who published their findings in Psychological Science, believe the results may also be relevant to people suffering from mental fatigue.

“Interacting with nature can have similar effects as meditating,” reports Marc Berman, a psychology researcher at the university. He adds, “People don’t have to enjoy the walk to get the benefits,” although they do tend to find spring and summer walks more enjoyable.

Study participants exhibited increased levels of alertness, satisfaction and mental tranquility after spending just one hour interacting with nature. They reported that their levels of stress had decreased significantly and they felt more in control of their mind. Similar benefits did not accrue from urban walks.

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