New Research Shows That Walking Improves Creativity

  • 36
    Shares

walking enhances creativityWe all know that physical activity reduces heart disease, diabetes, and even makes you live longer. But did you know that taking a walk is good for your creativity?

Researchers from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education set up experiments on 176 people, mostly college students, that show the participants who walked more gave more creative responses on tests used to measure creative thinking.

Four experiences demonstrated that walking boosts creative flow and immediately and shortly after. So get those ideas onto paper right away because they are fragile thoughts!

Of the students tested for creativity while walking, 100 perfect came up with more creative ideas in one experiment. For those of you who aren’t math geniuses, 100 percent means – all of them!


In other experiments run by the smart people at Stanford, 95%, 88%, and 81% of the participants from walker groups had more creative responses compared with when they were sitting.

“Everyone always says going on a walk gives you new ideas, but nobody had ever proved it before,” said Marily Oppezo, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University and the lead author of the study.

“Walking had a large effect on creativity. Most of the participants benefited from walking compared with sitting, and the average increase in creative output was around 60%,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of Experiments Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition study.

According to the research, “One possible explanation is that walking taxed executive function to handle dual-task nature of walking while thinking, and a said effect of this distraction was that it allowed more creativity to seep in. This seems unlikely given that creativity performance was resilient to mild distractions that require executive function management.”

The study concludes that if you incorporate physical activity into you life, it will be beneficial to your heart and brain as well. And what way is easiest to incorporate physical activity? Well, if you guessed walking, then you guessed correct.

What’s a physical activity that gets your brain going? Have you tried walking to get through a creative problem? Let us know in the comment section below!

About the author

Mark Alderson