Walking Fuels Creativity

You know, I know it. Beethoven, Steve Jobs and Darwin knew it.

You get some of your best ideas when you are out taking a walk. Most of us have known this instinctively for years, and now there is research to prove it.

Last April, Marily Oppezzo, a behavioral and learning scientist, gave a TED Talk in which she shared the results of a Stanford University study that proved not only are you right, but you are really right. In fact, the study -- which you can check out HERE -- concluded that “walking substantially increased creativity.” Better yet, that increased ability to generate novel, new and creative ideas doesn’t end when you slip off your sneakers. Rather, there is a residual effect that helps you be more creative even after you have completed your walk.

How? Why? Researchers aren’t quite sure. Perhaps it is the increased blood flow. Perhaps it has something to do with the areas of your brain that “light up” when you walk. Perhaps it is because part of your brain is focused on putting one foot in front of the either, freeing your subconscious to wander a bit. Perhaps simply being in nature fuels creativity. Perhaps it is because walking allows a “creative pause” -- a pause from the usual onslaught of input, filtering and processing that allows your subconscious to formulate the fresh connections that re the key to creativity.

For now, I don’t care why. For now, when I am stuck on a problem or simply want to generate new ideas, I’m lacing up my sneakers and hitting the trail. Next time you need a dose of creative energy, I suggest you do the same.