Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Reason No. 19 to Hike with Kids: Beat Brain Fatigue

You probably will feel more relaxed if you look at this
picture. Photo courtesy of Maryland DNR.
Overwhelmed by the stresses of modern life, sometimes our brains check out for a little while by becoming flighty, distracted or forgetful. The solution? Take a hike.

A study released this spring by Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh found that even a brief walk through a leafy area – a tree-lined boulevard or a city park – caused brain activity to “quiet.” The brain essentially reset itself so that it was better able to handle modern traffic and workplace stressors.

While only the brain activity of adults were studied, I suspect there’s good reason to believe that a walk in nature also would benefit children. Schools overly focused on student test performance, jam-packed schedules, and the stress of growing up all can result in brain fatigue among kids.

So if either you or the kids (or both!) just can’t seem to focus, hit the trail and get cured!

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.