Does being outside really help with Attention Deficit?
For children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), tasks that require concentration such as doing homework or taking a test can be very difficult. A study conducted at the University of Illinois shows that children with ADHD demonstrate greater attention after a 20-minute walk in a park than after a similar walk in a downtown area or a residential neighborhood.
Children with ADHD or ADD showed significantly reduced symptoms following after-school or weekend activities in green outdoor settings (natural areas such as parks, farms, or a green backyard) compared to activities in other settings, including built outdoor settings (parking lots, downtown areas) or indoor settings.
Analysis was based on parents’ reports of their children’s behavior during the hour after the activity, specifically:
Ability to focus on unappealing tasks
Ability to complete tasks
Ability to listen and follow directions
Ability to resist distractions
Particularly noteworthy was the finding that “green” areas were more effective than other outdoor areas in reducing ADHD/ADD symptoms, suggesting that it was not merely the fresh air and space to move around outside that was important, but rather the natural setting itself.