Walk to creativity

While some pursuits like art and writing are regarded as “creative” there are many other activities that are just as creative. You can’t build a home, landscape a Garden, manage a retail outlet, teach, engage in sales, design a website or run a business without creativity. In fact, there is a hardly a life endeavour that doesn’t benefit from creativity, so what do you do to maintain or boost your creativity levels? If you are struggling to answer that one then you need to read this article because a creativity boost could be as close as your legs.

The link between walking and creativity was found in new studies where the researchers tested subjects for creativity after they had either been sitting indoors, sitting in a wheelchair pushed outdoors, walking on a treadmill indoors or walking outdoors. The walking or sitting sessions lasted from five to 16 minutes.

To test creative or divergent thinking, the researchers gave tests such as providing the subject with three objects and asking the subject to come up with as many uses as possible for the objects. The responses were marked according to novelty (no-one else in the group thought of it) and appropriateness (if the object could realistically be used in the suggested way).

It emerged that people who were given the test while walking, either on a treadmill or outdoors, scored an average of 60 per cent higher than people who were sitting when they did the test.

In another experiment, a more complex type of creativity was tested. In this test the researcher gives the subject a prompt and the subject has to arrive at an analogy for that prompt. So, for instance, when the prompt “a robbed safe” was given, a response like “an empty wallet” would not score as high as “a soldier suffering from PTSD”. The more the analogy captures the deep meaning of the prompt, the higher it scores. It was found that 100 per cent of people walking outdoors came up with a high level response while only 50 per cent of people sitting indoors delivered a high level response.

The researchers aren’t sure what is causing this link between walking and boosted creativity but it certainly seems to be there.

It would serve all of us to do more walking then, not just for the aerobic benefits but because, when you get down to it, we are all in a creative walk of life.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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