Brain Health

Walking In Nature (without technology) is Beneficial To The BrainIMG_1912

 

  1. Exercise increases circulation and blood flow to the brain.

  2. Green spaces provide a more optimized microbial input to our immune systems:

    Basically, we gain greater biodiversity in our lungs from breathing in new spores from nature which can allow us to instantly populate our microbiome with more varied bacteria, thus, potentially boosting our immune systems. This is via the natural environment and increased exposure to airborne microbiota. (In layman’s terms: get outside, get some fresh air, courtesy of nature. That stale stuff we breathe indoors may not be varied enough, nor clean enough if there are chemicals involved….which there often are in this modern, indoor, toxically sealed-up world!)

According to the NCBI article abstract titled, Regulation of the immune system by biodiversity from the natural environment: An ecosystem service essential to health by Graham A. Rook1“”It is suggested that the requirement for microbial input from the environment to drive immunoregulation is a major component of the beneficial effect of green space, and a neglected ecosystem service that is essential for our well-being.”

3. Exposure to sunlight can enhance our mood:

Vitamin D is the “sunshine” vitamin. For the last decade, vitamin D has been reported in the press as an important factor that may have significant health benefits in the prevention and the treatment of many chronic illnesses and mood disorders.

“A systematic review and meta-analysis of 14 studies with a total of 31,424 participants revealed an association between vitamin D levels and depression,” said a summary of the study, from researchers at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, St Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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According to NBCI, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/

“Vitamin D insufficiency affects almost 50% of the population worldwide. An estimated 1 billion people worldwide, across all ethnicities and age groups, have a vitamin D deficiency (VDD). This pandemic of hypovitaminosis D can mainly be attributed to lifestyle (for example, reduced outdoor activities) and environmental (for example, air pollution) factors that reduce exposure to sunlight, which is required for ultraviolet-B (UVB)-induced vitamin D production in the skin.”

4. Nature has a calming effect on our brains:

As many of us may have figured out on our own… walking can help us better process thoughts, helping us get “unstuck” from our own broodiness loop.
According to Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, who has been studying the psychological effects of urban living who compared the brains of city dwellers walking along a highway vs. out in nature:

“As might have been expected, walking along the highway had not soothed people’s minds. Blood flow to their subgenual prefrontal cortex was still high and their broodiness scores were unchanged.But the volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health, according to their scores on the questionnaire. They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk.They also had less blood flow to the subgenual prefrontal cortex. That portion of their brains were quieter.These results “strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments” could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Mr. Bratman said.”Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times  https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/22/how-nature-changes-the-brain/

5. Nature can make you more creative and better at problem-solving:

According to Professor David Strayer who has been researching brain-based measures of cognitive restoration for the past decade– the average American spends over 10 hours a day engaged in screen time with less than 30 minutes a day in nature. This is too taxing for our pre-frontal cortex, and it can cause our brain to become fatigued. He sees nature as a restorative tool.

“If you’ve been using your brain to multitask—as most of us do most of the day—and then you set that aside and go on a walk, without all of the gadgets, you’ve let the prefrontal cortex recover,” says Strayer. “And that’s when we see these bursts in creativity, problem-solving, and feelings of well-being.”

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Walking in Sun Valley

“Numerous studies demonstrate that living close to the natural rural or coastal environment, often denoted “green space or “blue space,” respectively, is beneficial for human health. It reduces overall mortality, cardiovascular disease, and depressive symptoms and increases subjective feelings of well-being.”

roc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Nov 12; 110(46): 18360–18367.
Published online 2013 Oct 23. doi:  10.1073/pnas.1313731110
PMCID: PMC3831972
PMID: 24154724
Environmental Sciences

Ted Talk that sums it up!