Creative Walking

Walking has always been viewed as a simple and effective exercise, regardless of age or income. It provides a good cardio workout, increases blood flow, as well as being an effective way to lose weight.

I come from a family of “walkers” – and no, not in The Walking Dead sense either, smarty pants. It is something I’ve been very keen on doing since I was a little kid. I always found walking to be a great way to brainstorm new ideas in general – and my MIND MAGIC in particular. It turns out that there is serious science backing up that belief.

Scientists at Stanford University have published their findings in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.

Download their paper here…

http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/xlm-a0036577.pdf

They have discovered that a  person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking!

The study found that walking indoors OR outdoors similarly boosted creative inspiration. The act of walking itself, and not the environment, was the main factor. Amazingly, this included walking on a treadmill, while facing a blank wall. Across the board, creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for those walking compared to those sitting.

Why?

Simple answer: they aren’t sure. There are a  couple of theories:

“Walking may relax suppression of memories, which would yield increased associative ideation”

“Walking may have increased the activity of associative memory. Executive function can set constraints on acceptable retrieval and filter retrieved ideas. However, associative memory has to provide the candidate ideas. Walking may have increased the ease with which associative memories activated, for example, by relaxing inhibitory competition among memories and allowing ideas with low levels of activation to push through.”

As is the case with much “science” – we know it DOES work, we just not sure HOW it works. But the fact that it DOES will hopefully encourage us to rise out of our chairs, and to “get moving”. Healthy exercise producing increased creativity? Just another example of how comprehensive, systemic – harmonious – balance within ourselves can bring nothing but benefit. Physically and mentally.

So next time you go out for a stroll, don’t forget to bring a notepad and pen!

Happy (and creative) walking!

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