How time spent outside has positive effects on brain structure

Researchers found people who spent more time outside had more gray matter in the frontal lobe of their brains.
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 3:32 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The warm weather is a great excuse to get outside, but it turns out, it’s good for your brain, too. A new study has proven that time outside has positive effects on your brain structure.

This study was done by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany. They studied at six healthy, middle-aged city dwellers for about six months.

They looked at how much caffeine and water they drank, how much time they spent outside, and what the weather was like. Then, they scanned their brains.

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Researchers found people who spent more time outside had more gray matter in the frontal lobe of their brains.

This part of your brain controls your cognitive control or behavior. Spending time outdoors has a positive effect regardless of the weather or someone’s caffeine or water intake.

The researchers say these findings are important for treating psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression. Mental health issues are typically associated with lower levels of gray matter. The researchers say this means doctors could prescribe time outsider to help treat depression or anxiety.

In the future, researchers want to compare the effects of green environments versus urban spaces on the brain. They also plan on looking at how traffic noise and air pollution affect the brain.

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