Researchers have discovered that hiking boosts your brainpower because of the fresh air and the feeling of adventure you get from a trip in the nature. PhD. David Strayer, famous for his 15 years of research and campaign on distracted driving, awarded with a Pulitzer Prize, has decided to tackle on the subject of nature’s influence on the brain capacity. He has designated some special tests to analyze how backpacking can make you smarter by letting you think more clearly, focus more accurately and perform to your maximum cognitive ability. The conclusion: the more time you spend in the wilderness, the smarter you will become.
His more than 20 years of research on walks in natural atmosphere and rafting has made him come up with two different pen and paper tests, and analyzes blood proteins, heart rate, hormones, respiration and brain activity. He calls this research field Environmental Neuroscience, developed from environmental psychology. While environmental psychology looks at the relationship between people and the physical world, the environmental neuroscience studies how the surroundings affect the working of the brain. Time spent in nature makes use of certain brain regions not used on a daily basis, and releases certain hormones that are otherwise never released. This benefits both the body and the mind.
He will hand out a test before and after a four day trip in the wilderness. It contains problems that involve decision making, organizing, planning, mathematical processes or multitasking. The front lobe of the brain is the master of all the operations you do on a daily basis, but as it is constantly shifting its attention from work, cell phone, conversations and daily routine, this affects its performance and it becomes tired. Even the smallest walk in the nature helps in bringing back the much needed vitality and energy. The man-made modern environment tends to have negative aspects, but time spent in nature, man’s original and natural habitat quickly restores the brain in a remarkable way.