Walking outside can benefit your mental health more than walking indoors

Credit: Julian Hochgesang/Unsplash.

Have you ever noticed how a short walk outside can make you feel more refreshed and energized?

Well, researchers at the University of Victoria and York University in Canada have now found that walking outdoors can provide even more mental health benefits than walking indoors.

In a new study, the team asked 30 college student volunteers to take two 15-minute walks, either inside or outside.

Before and after each walk, the volunteers underwent electroencephalography (EEG) exams and performed a visual oddball task on an iPad to measure brain activity linked to memory and attention.

The researchers found that regardless of where the walks occurred, improvements in response time on the oddball task were observed after both indoor and outdoor walks.

However, changes in neural response amplitude were only observed in those who had walked outside.

These changes were represented by increases, which prior research has shown indicate heightened attention and better memory skills.

These findings suggest that going for a short walk outside provides people with more cognitive benefits than going for a same-length walk indoors.

The researchers acknowledge that their study was limited and suggest that larger experiments might confirm their findings.

They also note that it is still not clear if such differences might exist for longer walks or when engaging in more strenuous exercise.

This study highlights the importance of spending time outdoors and connecting with nature for our mental health.

It also adds to the growing body of research on the benefits of regular exercise for both our mental and physical health. So, next time you’re feeling stressed or need a mental boost, why not take a short walk outside?

How to prevent mental illnesses

Protecting mental health can be just as important as protecting physical health. Here are some tips for maintaining good mental health:

Stay connected with friends and family: Social support is crucial for maintaining good mental health. Keep in touch with your loved ones, even if it’s just through a phone call or video chat.

Practice relaxation techniques: Activities like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help reduce stress and improve mental health.

Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety and depression. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Exercise regularly: Physical activity can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

Eat a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet can help improve your mood and overall mental health.

Limit alcohol and drug use: Substance abuse can worsen mental health problems and lead to addiction.

Seek professional help when needed: If you are struggling with mental health issues, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional.

Remember, taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. By practicing self-care and seeking help when needed, you can improve your overall well-being and quality of life.

If you care about mental health, please read studies that high doses of common depression drugs could switch off the brain, and Vitamin D could help reduce depression symptoms.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that fermented foods and fiber could help you reduce stress, and the MIND diet could improve cognitive health in older people.

The study was conducted by Katherine Boere et al and published in Scientific Reports.

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