Researchers at Herriott Watt University have shown the beneficial effects of open spaces on the brain, by using portable measuring devices.

Open spaces such as Ouseburn Parks, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, recently restored by Southern Green, promote healthy brain activity.
Open spaces such as Ouseburn Parks, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, recently restored by Southern Green, promote healthy brain activity.

In a paper entitled ‘The urban brain: analysing outdoor physical activity with mobile EEG‘the researchers describe how they asked participants in the study to walk through three different areas of Edinburgh and they monitored their brainwaves while they were doing so. They found significant difference in brain behaviour when the subjects were in a green space rather than a shopping street or a busy commercial area.

The subjects had lower levels of frustration, engagement and arousal, the researchers found, and higher levels of meditation.The researchers conclude: ‘This has implications for promoting urban green space as a mood-enhancing environment for walking or for other forms of physical or reflective activity.’

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