Home Lifestyle Here's how time outdoors has a positive impact on the brain |...

Here’s how time outdoors has a positive impact on the brain | Health


The findings of a new study suggest that if you are regularly going out for fresh air, then you’re doing something good for both your brain and well-being.

The study was led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). The longitudinal study recently appeared in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, walks became a popular and regular pastime. A neuroscientific study suggested that this habit has a good effect not only on our general well-being but also on our brain structure.

It showed that the human brain benefits from even short stays outdoors. Until now, it was assumed that environments affect us only over longer periods of time.

The researchers regularly examined six healthy, middle-aged city dwellers for six months. In total, more than 280 scans were taken of their brains using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The focus of the study was on self-reported behaviour during the last 24 hours and in particular on the hours that participants spent outdoors prior to imaging.

In addition, they were asked about their fluid intake, consumption of caffeinated beverages, the amount of time spent outside, and physical activity, in order to see if these factors altered the association between time spent outside and the brain. In order to be able to include seasonal differences, the duration of sunshine in the study period was also taken into account.

Brain scans show that the time spent outdoors by the participants was positively related to gray matter in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is the superior (dorsal) and lateral part of the frontal lobe in the cerebral cortex.

This part of the cortex is involved in the planning and regulation of actions as well as what is referred to as cognitive control. In addition, many psychiatric disorders are known to be associated with a reduction in gray matter in the prefrontal area of the brain.

The results persisted even when the other factors that could also explain the relationship between time spent outdoors and brain structure were kept constant.

The researchers performed statistical calculations in order to examine the influence of sunshine duration, the number of hours of free time, physical activity, and fluid intake on the results. The calculations revealed that time spent outdoors had a positive effect on the brain regardless of the other influencing factors.

“Our results show that our brain structure and mood improve when we spend time outdoors. This most likely also affects concentration, working memory, and the psyche as a whole. We are investigating this in an ongoing study. The subjects are asked to also solve cognitively challenging tasks and wear numerous sensors that measure the amount of light they are exposed to during the day, among other environmental indicators,” said Simone Kuhn, head of the Lise Meitner Group for Environmental Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and lead author of the study.

The results, therefore, support the previously assumed positive effects of walking on health and extend them by the concrete positive effects on the brain. Because most psychiatric disorders are associated with deficits in the prefrontal cortex, this is of particular importance to the field of psychiatry.

“These findings provide neuroscientific support for the treatment of mental disorders. Doctors could prescribe a walk in the fresh air as part of the therapy – similar to what is customary for health cures,” said Anna Mascherek, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and co-author of the study.

In the ongoing studies, the researchers also want to directly compare the effects of green environments vs urban spaces on the brain.

In order to understand where exactly the study participants spend their time outdoors, the researchers plan to use GPS (Global Positioning System) data and include other factors that may play a role such as traffic noise and air pollution.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.



Source link

RELATED ARTICLES

Horoscope Today: Astrological prediction for July 24 | Astrology

All zodiac signs have their own characteristics and traits which define someone’s personality. Wouldn’t it be helpful if you started your day by...

These sites make the most of their Unesco World Heritage tag

Maintaining a World Heritage Site is hard work. Infrastructure must adapt to visitor numbers as they grow and shrink. Security becomes more vital,...

Trail mix: Will these six Indian sites get on Unesco’s World Heritage list?

There’s good news and bad news.First, the good: six Indian sites are on the latest shortlist for the Unesco world heritage tag. These...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Nearly 1,000 Houses Damaged, Hundreds Evacuated In Flood-Hit Goa

<!-- -->"One of the worst floods since 1982," Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said. (Representational)Panaji: One person died, around 1,000 houses were damaged...

Calcutta High Court Proposes Measures For Safety Of Women, Transgender People

<!-- -->The bench proposed displaying helpline numbers, including a transgender-specific helpline, in all busesKolkata: To ensure the safety and security of women and...

Army Deploys 15 Rescue Teams In Maharashtra For Flood Relief

<!-- -->The Army has launched "Operation Varsha 21" for flood relief and rescue work in the statePune: With heavy rains wreaking havoc in...

Trinamool MLA Vivek Gupta’s Wife Robbed Of Cash, Gold Coins, Phone In Delhi: Police

<!-- -->Delhi Police suspect the involvement of the "Thak Thak" gang in the incident (Representational)New Delhi: A bag with around Rs 2 lakh...

Recent Comments