Fresh air improves our brains

Researchers at Harvard have concluded that work spaces with better air quality lead to significantly improved cognitive function scores amongst subjects they tested.

The findings have significant implications for teams looking to conduct workshops or seminars in the hope of generating inspired problem solving.

Joseph G. Allen and his colleagues set out to quantify how professionals (including architects, designers, programmers, engineers, creative professional marketers and managers) were impacted by the air quality they were subjected to. Researchers subjected an office space to varying air qualities over a 6 day period. The researchers performed a range of tests to determine the cognitive functioning scores of individuals within the workspace for crisis response, strategy and information usage. The results were pretty astonishing with between 97-299% increases in performance between the 'green' and 'non-green' air spaces.

There is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that we excel and feel invigorated in the open air. We seem to respond to sea breezes or rarified alpine air as if it is a tonic to our everyday routines. So much so that an innovative Swiss hotel, the 'Null Stern' has decided to do away with the roof (and the walls as well for that matter) as guests are treated to a luxurious stay under the stars in what is imaginatively known as a zero-star hotel. The service and quality of the bed are excellent, as are the views of the night sky and the dawn peaks. The roofless experience does require clement conditions but conceptually it is a remarkable idea.

So the brain is fuelled with inspiration-inducing clean air, the sports are exhilarating and the vistas are jaw-dropping. Can there be any better place to focus smart minds that in the pristine air of the mountains?

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