Time in Nature, Benefits (08-02-21)

Kuhn and colleagues evaluated how time in nature affects conditions in the brain. The researchers report that “A whole-brain analysis [conducted via MRI] revealed that time spent outdoors was positively associated with grey matter volume in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and positive affect, also after controlling for physical activity, fluid intake, free time, and hours of sunshine. Results indicate remarkable and potentially behaviorally relevant plasticity of cerebral structure within a short time frame driven by the daily time spent outdoors. This is compatible with anecdotal evidence of the health and mood-promoting effects of going for a walk. The study may provide the first evidence for underlying cerebral mechanisms of so-called green prescriptions with possible consequences for future interventions in mental disorders.”

Simone Kuhn, Anna Mascherek, Elisa Filevich, Nina Lisofsky, Maxi Becker, Oisin Butler, Martyna Lochstet, Johan Martensson, Elisabeth Wenger, Ulman Lindenberger and Jurgen Gallinat. “Spend Time Outdoors for Your Brain – An In-Depth Longitudinal MRI Study.”  The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, in press, https://doi.org/10.1080/15622975.2021.1938670