Do you ever wonder why you experience lethargy or feel like you aren’t able to progress as intended through the day? We often turn to our cellphones or the television to get out of the funk, but does that really allow your brain to take a break? Not really!
Whenever, you would have taken the outdoors route to beat the blues, rather than curling up on the couch, you may have realized that there’s a significant difference.
Is movement intrinsically linked with cognitive function and does environment matter? Neuroscientist and engineer Daniel Wolpert suggests that “to understand movement is to understand the brain, and therefore it is important to remember when you are studying memory, cognition, and sensory processing that there is a reason, and that reason is action.”
As per researcher Yoshifumi Miyazaki of Chiba University, as little as a 15-minute walk in the woods induces measurable effects on the body and brain. As part of a study, he had sent 84 participants through several different forests and the same number of people through various city centers. And the forest dwellers showed a 16 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, 2 percent reduction in blood pressure, and a 4 percent drop in heart rate comparatively.
It seems it would be ideal to combine movement and time spent in nature.
Being out and about in nature is linked to reducing levels of stress hormones. It’s quite interesting that when we walk into a new location, our first instinct is to breathe, after which our body subconsciously changes its psychological state as per the environment. So go outside and breathe, literally.
We are able to engage our nervous system the most by moving on varied surfaces barefoot or with minimal footwear. The brain is continually forming neuronal pathways to fit the environment, irrespective of age.
As per a study by the Stanford University, creativity experiences a spike as a product of walking outside rather than being inside.
Even though we tend to prefer the gym sometimes over a walk in the park, due to our lifestyle and work schedules, studies prove that memory and cognitive performance are enhanced by moving outside at a comfortable speed rather than a set speed, such as that of a treadmill.
Our movement is directly related with the function of our brain and yes, if we will move better, we will think better as well. Build your brain with appropriate stimuli; whether you are walking, exercising or engaging in a sport, choose to be outdoors.