Ever wonder why you experience mental blocks or sometimes feel a bit lethargic even when you sleep well? What if there was a natural "super pill" with only positive side effects that has been shown to increase creativity, reduce stress, and enhance memory? The cognitive effects of moving outside have benefited humanity for millennia, but in recent years we’ve neglected the ultimate bio-hack: outdoor exercise.
Is it possible that the way we think is inseparably tied to how we move? 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."
If movement is completely integrated with our cognitive function, does the environment we move in matter? Researcher Yoshifumi Miyazaki of Chiba University emphatically says yes and has shown that as little as a 15-minute walk in the woods induces measurable effects on the body and brain. He sent 84 participants through several different forests and the same number of people through various city centers. Unsurprisingly, the forest dwellers reaped much more benefit from the experience: They 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 appears we can create somewhat of a "perfect storm" by combining the brain-building benefits of movement with the advantages of spending time in nature. Here's why: