Spending more time outdoors in nature may improve well-being and brain health, a new study has found.
The study was released in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.
Initiated by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, the study aimed at establishing the effects of nature on physical and mental health.
“We established the Day2day study, which includes an unprecedented in-depth assessment of variability of brain structure in a serial sequence of 40–50 structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) acquisitions of each of six young healthy participants for 6–8 months,” Simone Kühn and colleagues wrote in the findings.
By the study’s conclusion, researchers determined that the more time spent outdoors the greater the positive effects to brain health, including a positive association with grey matter volume in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and positive affect.
“Results indicate remarkable and potentially behaviorally relevant plasticity of cerebral structure within a short time frame driven by the daily time spent outdoors,” Kühn’s findings declared.
“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.”