A walk in the park is effective in helping people cope with depression, research says.
Researcher Marc Berman and colleagues report that interacting with nature improves cognitive function of people and helps them concentrate on a task.
“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," Berman said.
For the study, 20 participants were randomly assigned in two groups; the first group was asked to walk in a park and the other in a busy street. All the participants in the study had been diagnosed with clinical depression and prior to the field test they were given a test to assess their cognitive and memory skills and mood status. They were then asked to think about a painful self-reported memory.
After the walk, both groups were given a test to determine their cognitive and working memory ability and a test to assess their mood. The same procedure was repeated after a week with both groups switching walk-routes (park or busy street).
The team found that there was 16 percent improvement in the cognitive and memory test when the participants walked in a park than a busy street. The change in mood status of both the groups was significant and similar in both settings.