Need To Get Your Creative Juices Flowing? Take A Walk

Ever noticed that some of your most creative thinking is done while you're walking—whether it be to work or to a friend's house or even to your car? Well, research shows it's not all in your head.

Walk This Way

It doesn't matter if you're walking on a treadmill or along the beach, it's the simple act of walking (not the location) that helps boost creativity, according to a 2014 study from Stanford University. To take a more scientific look at the Nietzsche quote that states "All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking," Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz conducted four experiments, testing participants on things like coming up with alternate uses for everyday items. In each case, individuals who were walking came up with ideas that were more "novel and appropriate" than participants who were seated. "The creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when the person was walking," according to a press release about the study.

Even If You Can't Keep Moving...

Most offices don't come equipped with treadmill desks, and if you live in Chicago (like us!) or any similarly chilly city, you probably aren't anxious to go for a long walking meeting to come up with your best ideas. But the good news is that you don't have to go for hours to reap the creative benefits of walking. In the study, the walkers were only on the move for 5 to 16 minutes, and they enjoyed the creative spike even after they'd stopped. It's still not clear exactly why walking got the creative juices flowing, but the researchers say that this is just another reason why getting up and moving is such a vital exercise. "We already know that physical activity is important and sitting too often is unhealthy. This study is another justification for integrating bouts of physical activity into the day, whether it's recess at school or turning a meeting at work into a walking one," Oppezzo said in the press release. "We'd be healthier, and maybe more innovative for it."

Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Videos About Creativity

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

Where Does Creativity Come From?

Find Your Creative Flow State

Written by Curiosity Staff February 2, 2015

Curiosity uses cookies to improve site performance, for analytics and for advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.