Demanding schedules leave many people feeling trapped inside, not able to enjoy nature as regularly as one may desire. Additionally, a busy home life makes it difficult to get out of the house from time to time. However, the benefits of walking outside every day are proven to help keep the brain healthy. Even if all you have time for is a ten minute walk, it’s worth it! Read this list of four reasons why going on a walk outside in nature benefits the brain.
- Getting Fresh Air
I’m sure you’ve heard this expression at some point. Getting fresh air allegedly helps a person feel better. However, not many people know what getting fresh air does for the brain. Oxygen is absolutely essential in maintaining healthy brain function, growth, and healing. In fact, the brain uses about three times as much oxygen for healthy neuron function, as muscles do. The brain is extremely sensitive to decreases in oxygen levels. Therefore when a person takes a walk outside, getting to breathe fresh outdoor air actually improves brain function, especially if a person is cooped up in an office most of the day. A great suggestion for better work performance is to take a walk outside of the office during breaks!
- Improved Concentration
Spending time outdoors with natural scenery has actually been proven to improve brain function such as concentration. In fact, one study took a group of children with ADHD and compared how well they performed after they were split into two groups. One of the groups spent the majority of the time after school and on weekends in outdoor green spaces, and the other group spent most of their time playing indoors. The group playing outside showed fewer symptoms of ADHD than their counterparts, even while performing the same tasks.
- Increased Vitamin D
When out in sunlight, a person’s skin synthesizes vitamin D, an essential nutrient for healthy brain function. Vitamin D actually protects the neurons in the brain and reduces inflammation. There have also been connections drawn to between vitamin D and neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth. All of these are essential to our daily functioning, and therefore vitamin D is extremely important, yet vitamin D deficiency continues to become more common each year. Getting out into the sunlight will give you some of the vitamin D you need. Again, even if you can get out for only ten minutes, it’s still worth it!
- Stress Reduction
So many people are working inside of a building all day, getting stressed out by a variety of factors in their work place. Going outside can help reduce this stress. Scientists have discovered physiological evidence that suggests spending time in nature reduces stress, such as observed lowered heart rates and less time spent thinking about problems and/or insecurities. Furthermore, taking a walk outside will help the brain produce endorphins, which are neurotransmitters responsible for regulating mood. Both being outside and walking can work together to create positive changes in overall state of mind.
Update: The National Academy of Science in the US has proven that walking in nature actually changes your brain.
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