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Walk in the Park Helps Cure Depression

Update Date: May 16, 2012 02:35 PM EDT

 

Photo: Flickr/The Wandering Angel
Photo: Flickr/The Wandering Angel

A research conducted in USA and Canada concludes that people suffering from depression should take regular walks in the park. It makes them feel better and works wonders in curing depression.

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"Our study showed that participants with clinical depression demonstrated improved memory performance after a walk in nature, compared to a walk in a busy urban environment," said Marc Berman, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute in Toronto. Berman conducted the research with scientists at the University of Michigan and Stanford University.

However, researches noted that walks in the park should not replace treatment and medication for depression completely but should be used as a supplement to enhance the effect of treatments and medication for this mental disorder. While significant improvement has been seen in people who take natural walks during depression, researchers state that there is still a lot to be discovered as to how effective natural walks are.

20 people (twelve women and eight men) diagnosed with clinical depression were recruited to take part in this two-part study. First, the participants were asked to complete online tests to analyze their cognitive and mood status. Once this was done, they were taken on an hour's walk to random urban (noisy) areas near the University. Before the walk, participants were asked to think of an unresolved, painful autobiographical experience. After the walk, participants were asked to take another mental test that determined their memory and brain working powers.

A week later, the process was repeated but this time the participants were taken on a walk to more natural surroundings, away from the noise of the city. It was observed that participants exhibited a 16 percent increase in attention and working memory after the nature walk compared to the urban walk.

Berman said: "This suggests that separate brain mechanisms may underlie the cognitive and mood changes of interacting with nature.

 

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