Climbing Trees Can Improve Working Memory

Is your child begging to climb that tall tree in the backyard? Maybe it's time to let her! An interesting report from the University of North Florida says that activities like tree climbing and balancing on a beam can dramatically improve cognitive skills.

This study is the first to show that these types of activities completed over a short period of time can benefit working memory. A lot of this has to do with improving awareness of body positioning and orientation, according to the study.

Researchers tested the working memory of adults ages 18 to 59 before they climbed trees, walked on a beam three inches wide, moved while paying attention to posture, ran barefoot, navigated around obstacles, or carried awkwardly weighted objects. After two hours, these adults had their memory tested again and researchers found that their working memory capacity increased by 50 percent.

While no children under 18 were included in this particular study, experts have said that outdoor activities such as learning how to cartwheel, planting a garden, or going on a bike ride, can help kids' prevent summer brain drain. I bet climbing trees or playing in an obstacle course could boost their memory too (and add lots of fun to a summer afternoon at the park).

Melissa Bykofsky is the associate articles editor at Parents who covers millennial trends, entertainment, and pop-culture. Follow her on Twitter @mbykofsky.

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