Many studies confirm that when people have access to parks, they exercise more. Outdoors physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of a wide range of diseases, and also relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety and improves mood.
And, as the L.A. Times reports on a new study by PLoS, nature may also spark "higher-order cognitive skills."
So says a new study that supports something called Attention Restoration Theory, which holds that exposure to nature can replenish our cognitive reserves when they are worn out by overuse. And if you live a modern urban or suburban life, your cognitive reserves are surely depleted: A typical teenager spends more than 7.5 hours per day juggling a computer, cellphone, TV and other media, and the number is surely higher for a typical adult, according to the study:
"Our modern society is filled with sudden events (sirens, horns, ringing phones, alarms, televisions, etc.) that hijack attention. By contrast, natural environments are associated with a gentle, soft fascination, allowing the executive attentional system to replenish."
Read more about the study here.