From USA Today
Why parks matter: Nature improves your brain
PHOENIX — When Henry David Thoreau and John Muir wrote about their outdoor experiences more than a century ago, they frequently touted the benefits of nature for their mental health, but they didn’t have proof.Modern researchers, measuring brain activity, heart rate and other factors, have confirmed it.Nature is good for you. Exercise is good for you. Exercising in nature is even better.“We can see changes in the brain,” said David Strayer, cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah.Exposure to nature improves concentration and problem solving. It reduces stress and increases feelings of empathy. One study found that hospital patients with bedside views of trees recovered faster, needed less pain medication and had fewer complications after surgery. Even simple things like gardening, hiking, jogging or walking the dog are good for our mental and physical health.