According to a new study by researchers at Stanford University, there may be a reason people walk back and forth, or pace, when they are trying to think of a new idea. In a study of nearly 180 participants, it was found that walking can actually improve a person’s creativity.
Scientists state that there could be a scientific explanation for why individuals walk while they are thinking of ideas and that walking instead of sitting may lead to increased creativity. The participants in the study, who were mainly college students, were tested each as they were walking and also sitting. The researchers discovered that those who walked more consistently were able to write down more creative answers on tests than did the individuals who were sitting before the time that they took tests. However the walkers seemed to have problems coming up with simple, straightforward answers to questions on the test, but the group who sat had an easier time with this part.
The researchers were also interested in finding out if running would make any difference in creative thinking as opposed to walking, or if walking or running outdoors would change the results of the experiment.
Scientists thought that for some people, going on a half-hour run might be inconvenient or even impossible for those that might not have that kind of stamina, so they wanted to see if a walk could still do the trick. It turned out that it did. Through their testing, the Stanford researchers found out that it really did not make any difference if a person was running or walking and whether he or she was inside or out. Any of them seemed to do the trick, but it really only took a stroll or a brisk walk to get the creative juices flowing. Researchers concluded that walking had an effect on many different types of creativity, mainly free-flowing thought.
The research study concluded that walking could improve a person’s creativity and also concluded what many studies before it have shown, that physical activity is paramount in a person’s day to day life. It increased and supported brain activity, and well as aiding in heart health and wellness, and it also aided in keeping weight down, which was an important factor in daily health. Physical health and fitness was also proven to lower the risk for a number of other illnesses, including, but not limited to heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, and thyroid problems, among others. Other studies and reports have also said that active people might live five years longer than non-active people.
These new study findings at Stanford suggest that people should incorporate physical activity into their daily routine, as it will not only benefit their health, but also their work, their minds and their abilities to process new creative thoughts and come up with new ideas as well
The researchers at Stanford University have published their findings according to what they observed and concluded in their study about how walking can improve creativity. It can be found in the APA’s Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.
By Laura Clark