Going outside—even in the cold—improves memory, attentionANN ARBOR, Mich.—Go outside: It helps improve your focus—even when it's cold out.
University of Michigan psychology research in the December issue of Psychological Science explored the cognitive benefits of interacting with nature and found that walking in a park in any season, or even viewing pictures of nature, can help improve memory and attention.
U-M psychology researchers Marc Berman, John Jonides and Stephen Kaplan found memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent after people spent an hour interacting with nature.
Researchers believe the findings could have broader impact on helping people who may be suffering from mental fatigue.
"Interacting with nature can have similar effects as meditating," Berman said. "People don't have to enjoy the walk to get the benefits. We found the same benefits when it was 80 degrees and sunny over the summer as when the temperatures dropped to 25 degrees in January. The only difference was that participants enjoyed the walks more in the spring and summer than in the dead of winter."