Walking Really Works

Mindcamp Article

Walking can help you be you more creative… and walking out-of-doors is the most likely to be of help.

At a time when preliminary data often get spun into b*llsh*t FB memes, it’s nice to see some hard science. Here’s the abstract:

“Four experiments demonstrate that walking boosts creative ideation in real time and shortly after. In Experiment 1, while seated and then when walking on a treadmill, adults completed Guilford’s alternate uses (GAU) test of creative divergent thinking and the compound remote associates (CRA) test of convergent thinking. Walking increased 81% of participants’ creativity on the GAU, but only increased 23% of participants’ scores for the CRA. In Experiment 2, participants completed the GAU when seated and then walking, when walking and then seated, or when seated twice. Again, walking led to higher GAU scores. Moreover, when seated after walking, participants exhibited a residual creative boost. Experiment 3 generalized the prior effects to outdoor walking. Experiment 4 tested the effect of walking on creative analogy generation. Participants sat inside, walked on a treadmill inside, walked outside, or were rolled outside in a wheelchair. Walking outside produced the most novel and highest quality analogies. The effects of outdoor stimulation and walking were separable. Walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.”

Here’s a link to a PDF: “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking” by Marily Oppezzo and Daniel L. Schwartz of Stanford University. The paper was published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition last month.

Thanks, Marc Hurwitz, for pointing us to this study about walking and the brain.

Image credit: Walking Alone by Eva Moe. Used with kind permission.

Comments 1

  1. Marc, thanks, years ago i met with Doug Hall @ his Eureka Ranch which had a pond on the property and the discussion centered on what the difference of walking around the pond or walking the LAB.. None, both are whole brain activities… I am of the opinion that lab distills,compresses( Compresses is the key word) and integrates the rational and the intuitive like a fine whiskey or wine… and that is why years ago I was accepted as a presenter ( The LAB ) for the North American Cybernetics Conference… The Lab, is as some have said, is a long walk in a small space. Fundamentally, Circularity, Recursiveness and Iteration… QZE And for me, maybe the fermentation or bubbling up of ideas… A crucible for Alchemy. I consider the experience of the Lab to be an Emergent Technology for the 21st century and beyond based on and being reaffirmed by neuroscience .. As I mentioned to you @ MC and wrote to U later I would like to have a conversation w/ you on this subject… See you on the other side of tomorrow, Joe

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