Hutchington News: Solution to many a problem: Take a walk
August 31, 2013.
Research has also shown similar benefits to simply being around nature. One study showed that spending time in natural settings makes us more generous and more community-oriented, a conclusion that has “implications not only for city planning but also for indoor design and architecture,” according to the study’s co-author Richard Ryan, of the University of Rochester Medical Center. Another study by Dutch researchers showed that those who live within 1 kilometer of a park or wooded area suffer lower rates of depression and anxiety. Even if we don’t live amid trees and greenery, we can always take a walk through them. And when scaled up, this could have real societal consequences. “As health-care costs spiral out of control, it behooves us to think about our green space in terms of preventive health care,” said Dr. Kathryn Kotrla, of the Texas A&M College of Medicine.
Even more intriguing is the link between the physical act of walking and thinking. A study in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology found that cognitive performance was increased when the subject was actually walking.
Perhaps forcing the brain to process a new environment allows it to engage it more fully. That’s one of the theories of how we awaken our capacity for creativity. In “Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently,” Gregory Berns writes that “new insights come from people and new environment – any circumstance in which the brain has a hard time predicting what will come next.”
So the next time you have something to work out, take a walk. It makes us healthier, it makes us fitter, and it enhances every kind of cognitive performance, from creativity to planning and scheduling. And best of all, it reconnects us to ourselves.
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By Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington is president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group. Her email address is[email protected].