Yes, the views and fresh air and exercise make every backpacking trip worthwhile. But now, new research shows, staying home is just plain dumb. Learn why backpacking boosts brainpower in this exclusive report from the frontiers of environmental neuroscience.

“Just like a muscle can get tired with overuse, the brain can get tired, too,” Strayer

How much wilderness you need for a “full dose” of brain restoration (and how long that dose lasts)

by: Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan


Results showed a 45 percent increase in mental abilities once the hikers had been out on the trail for three days.


For centuries and across cultures, philosophers, physicians, poets, nature writers and romantics have extolled the mentally rejuvenating and uplifting power of time spent in nature.

Less contact with nature, particularly in one’s young years, appears

to remove a layer of protection against psychological stress and opportunity

for cognitive rejuvenation


Ellison, M. (2010). An exploratory study of the restorative benefits of hiking in wilderness solitude and the relationship to job satisfaction. Unpublished Dissertation, North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

Kwak-Hefferan, E.(2012). Hiking makes you smarter. Backpacker Magazine. May

Selhub, E. & Logan, A. (2012). Your brain on nature. Mississauga: Wiley.


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