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YHA Countryside hikes 'can improve creative thinking'
    13/12/2012 09:52

Countryside hikes 'can improve creative thinking'

Getting out for a walk in the countryside is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but a new study shows it can also help your creativity.

Researchers from the University of Utah in the US found that taking a four-day hike in the wilderness improved individuals' creative performance by 50 per cent. The suggestion is that this liberating effect of getting away from the stresses of everyday life frees up the parts of the brain required to be creative.

No electronic devices were allowed on the trips, which saw 56 men and women with an average age of 28 take backpacking trips in Alaska, Colorado, Maine and Washington State. Each group was split in two, with one group taking a creativity test before the trip, and the other taking it afterwards. The latter group achieved much better results.

Study leader David Strayer said that while most people enjoy a getaway, this research provides some scientific reasoning. "It provides a rationale for trying to understand what is a healthy way to interact in the world, and that burying yourself in front of a computer 24/7 may have costs that can be remediated by taking a hike in nature," he explained.

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