You’re More Creative When You Walk

You’re More Creative When You Walk

It’s true. According to Stanford University researchers, a new study indicates that walking increases creative ideation by 60%. That boring meeting may be much more fruitful if you hold it on your feet, on the move.

The Stanford report begins:

People have noted that walking seems to have a special relation to creativity. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1889) wrote, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking” (Aphorism 34). The current research puts such observations on solid footing. Four studies demonstrate that walking increases creative ideation. The effect is not simply due to the increased perceptual stimulation of moving through an environment, but rather it is due to walking. Whether one is outdoors or on a treadmill, walking improves the generation of novel yet appropriate ideas, and the effect even extends to when people sit down to do their creative work shortly after.

Immediately, I wondered about the connection between mind and body. Not only is there a connection between mind and body, but this is an important and easy change we can make in our lives, if we’re looking to be more creative. Researchers stated:

Walking is an easy-to-implement strategy to increase appropriate novel idea generation. When there is a premium on generating new ideas in the workday, it should be beneficial to incorporate walks. In addition to providing performance benefits, it would address concerns regarding the physiological effects of inactivity (Hamilton, Healy, Dunstan, Zderic, & Owen, 2008;. Hamilton, Hamilton, & Zderic, 2007). While schools are cutting back on physical education in favor of seated academics, the neglect of the body in favor of the mind ignores their tight interdependence….

These experiments focused on “divergent” thinking or the generation of new ideas, not on focused thinking like you need during a test.

Think of the applications! This is great news for small business owners who need new, cost-effective marketing and product ideas. For addicts in early recovery, this research can help build new feelings of self-esteem as the addict reintegrates into society and family post-treatment and is able to generate new ideas that promote his/her work as well as a healthier lifestyle.

Richard Taite
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