Many Of History's Greatest Minds Always Made Time For Walk Breaks

Picture Beethoven. You're probably imagining the legendary composer hunched over a piano furiously scribbling out sixteenth notes and crescendos into the wee hours of the night. That scene probably looked a lot different in reality. Instead, think of Ludwig slowly strolling around the neighborhood, casually jotting down fleeting thoughts as butterflies flitted across his path. Much better.


These Brains Were Made For Walkin'

If you're putting in a 40-something-hour workweek, you're not alone. Got a million things to do at all times? Yup, ditto. Charles Darwin once wrote, "A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life." But that doesn't mean that he worked every waking hour. Nah, not by a long shot (he was kind of a slacker by today's standards, to be honest). He counted walks into his daily work routine. Regular walk breaks were considered instrumental by many of the most well-known minds in history.

Speaking of Darwin, he somehow squeezed three long walks into his already incredibly short work day. Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard believed in a daily stroll for inspiration. Charles Dickens depended on walks for writing material too, devoting three hours every afternoon to a good amble. Composer Tchaikovsky took a full two-hour walk every day, and was "convinced that cheating himself of the full 120 minutes would make him ill," according the Harvard Business Review. And ol' Beethoven took long walks after lunch, wielding paper and pencil to record inspiration when it hit him. French composer Erik Satie had a similar routine.

Walk This Way — Away From Your Desk

It's a no-brainer that walking is good and we could all stand to do it a little more. (Probably a whole lot more, but hey, we don't know your life.) Health aside, science concludes that going for a light saunter can even boost your creativity. Your boss can't argue with that, right?

As with any bit of self-improvement advice, the next question is usually this one: How long before I see results? According to a 2015 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, taking a walk break during your work day gives you immediate benefits. And, a 2016 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that taking just a 5-minute stroll each hour in the workday boosted mood, countered fatigue, and cut food cravings more than a single 30-minute exercise session. Maybe the most brilliant people in world history were really onto something.

How Walking Can Improve Your Creativity

Key Facts In This Video

  1. A study found that taking a walk can help boost creativity. 00:25

  2. Sitting, however, helps to focus on a single thought or task. 01:25

Written by Joanie Faletto July 22, 2017

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