Home » Opinion » Editorials
Peace of mind: What rural folks already know
Take a hike if you know what's good for you. That's not a threat from a 1950's mafia movie. It's science.
Psychologists at the University of Kansas and the University of Utah wanted to study the connection between brain function and spending time in nature. As the Los Angeles Times reported last month, the psychologists studied Outward Bound participants who spent four to six days in the woods. The subjects were forbidden from using any electronic devices while on their hikes. Participants were split into groups, with one taking a mental agility test before entering the woods, the other after several days "off the grid." Those who were tested after four days in the woods scored 50 percent better than their counterparts who were tested before going in.
The authors concluded that "higher-order cognitive skills improve with sustained exposure to a natural environment."
That is only one study, but it is consistent with others that have shown a positive connection between attention levels and exposure to nature. For example, a University of Michigan study found that participants who took a long walk in a park performed better on a mental skills test than did those who took a long walk in the city.
New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the nation. Maybe that is one reason why our students consistently perform above the national average in national standardized tests. (Students in Maine, the most-forested state, also perform above average, but not as well as New Hampshire students do.)
Most Granite Staters know that living among the hills, rivers, forests and mountains is good for the soul and the body. We also know what it can do for our peace of mind. Now scientists are confirming that it can improve creativity, attention span and mental function. Nice of them to catch up to us.
READER COMMENTS: 2
- John Stossel: Want to give back? Start a business - 5
- Ted Gatsas and Bob Baines: STEAM Ahead will transform students' lives in Manchester - 5
- Jonah Goldberg: No, Obamacare is not remotely close to fixed - 2
- George Will: A case for containing Iran - 0
- New Hampshire's long-term health continues to decline - 8
- Lou Catano: Non-profit directors know that NH is a special, giving place - 0
- Pat Buchanan: China has begun prowling Asia like a hungry tiger - 3
- Thomas Sowell: Victimhood and race - 4
- Fred Hiatt: While Obama talked, Assad killed - 4
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Two charged with selling heroin in Nashua - 0
- 'Fugitive of the week' arrested in Hooksett - 0
- Dover police arrest 3 on drug charges - 0
- Sports Briefs: No miracle finish for Vonn - 0
- Browns QB Campbell cleared to face Pats - 0
- Bruins defenseman Boychuk's status unknown - 0
- SNHU seeks NCAA title - 0
- Wildcat gridders visit Maine in defining game for program - 0
- Manchester needs more police department argues in staffing report - 0
Science, art combine for cancer fundraiser
Dover police arrest 3 on drug charges
Reams threatens to sue county commissioners
Conway is heartened by word of her letter
McWages: They're about value
Pot debate precedes legislative hearings
Dingman: 'I try to be a better person'
John DiStaso's Granite Status: Scott Brown says 'nothing is really changed' on political plans
Judge rules to keep officers on Laurie list