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].