20% Memory Improvement from Nature Walks

(Josh Cohen) #1

Check this out:
Memory Improved 20% by Nature Walk

New study finds that short-term memory is improved 20% by walking in nature, or even just by looking at an image of a natural scene.

…These results replicated a previous study by Berto (2005) who found that just viewing pictures of natural scenes had a restorative effect on cognitive function. People’s performance was soon restored by picture of trees, fields and hills, but not by streets, industrial units or even complex geometric patterns.

See also this:
Happiness is Right Outside

Just having a break from work is not enough suggests new research, it is activities in the open air which have the strongest restorative effects on our mental states.


I will have to try this, though a bit tough in Atlanta.

(Josh Cohen) #3

Here is a related study about the cognitive benefits of nature:

I think it’s true. When I was living in Vienna – a city without many trees – I was under a lot of stress. I did a lot of walking around the city, and it was like being in a concrete maze. Whenever I would pass by a row of trees I would immediately feel more relaxed.

(Josh Cohen) #4

Here are a couple of related articles:

(Josh Cohen) #5

Here is another one: Why parks matter: Nature improves your brain

Exposure to nature improves concentration and problem solving. It reduces stress and increases feelings of empathy. One study found that hospital patients with bedside views of trees recovered faster, needed less pain medication and had fewer complications after surgery. Even simple things like gardening, hiking, jogging or walking the dog are good for our mental and physical health.

In a test of creative reasoning, researchers found that people score 50% higher on creativity and problem-solving tests after unplugging and spending four days outside.

(I wish that they had linked to the study.)

More info here: This Is Your Brain on Nature.

In some countries governments are promoting nature experiences as a public health policy. In Finland, a country that struggles with high rates of depression, alcoholism, and suicide, government-funded researchers asked thousands of people to rate their moods and stress levels after visiting both natural and urban areas. Based on that study and others, Professor Liisa Tyrväinen and her team at the Natural Resources Institute Finland recommend a minimum nature dose of five hours a month—several short visits a week—to ward off the blues. “A 40- to 50-minute walk seems to be enough for physiological changes and mood changes and probably for attention,” says Kalevi Korpela, a professor of psychology at the University of Tampere. He has helped design a half dozen “power trails” that encourage walking, mindfulness, and reflection. Signs on them say things like, “Squat down and touch a plant.”


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