Jog Your Creativity

• Jul 1 2015

A common misconception on creativity is that it’s a passive process; those who are creative are naturally so, and a stall in creativity can’t be cured by anything except waiting for inspiration to arrive.

However, a recent Stanford University study tested Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote, “All great thoughts are conceived by walking”, using four experiments and two different tests on creative thinking.

The original experiment proved that walking on a treadmill inside while facing a blank wall improved creativity compared to sitting. Further experiments showed a lingering increase in creative thinking after the walk, described by the study as a “residual creative boost”.

Four groups were involved in the last experiment, where the subjects:
1. sat outside
2. walked outside
3. walked on a treadmill outside
4. were rolled around in a wheelchair outside.

The results showed that walking outside led to the biggest increase in creativity. The researchers attribute the improvement to a combination of muscle movements and unrestricted freedom to change direction and pace.

So if you’ve been at your desk for hours and your work has plateaued, consider a break to walk outside. Not only will you be better equipped to think while you’re walking, but you’ll also experience a “residual creative boost” back at your desk.

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