If you’ve ever been slumped at your desk stumped over a personal problem or stymied by a work issue, don’t descend into a dilemma of despair. California researchers have concocted a quick and easy way to almost instantly boost your brain power and devise a creative solution.
A study of more than 170 people shows that getting up from your chair and going for a walk leads to extra creativity.
“Many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking,” says researcher Marily Oppezzo. “With this study, we finally may be taking a step or two toward discovering why.”
Other studies have demonstrated that aerobic exercise can help the brain. But this research looked at how walking can temporarily improve a variety of thinking modes, allowing you to engage in freely flowing ideas instead of running in intellectual circles while sitting.
“Asking someone to take a 30-minute run to improve creativity at work would be an unpopular prescription for many people,” researcher Daniel Schwartz says. “We wanted to see if a simple walk might lead to more free-flowing thoughts and more creativity.”
Among the people who were tested for creativity while walking, 100 percent thought of more creative ideas in one test. And then 95 percent, 88 percent and 81 percent of the walkers in the other experiments had more creative responses compared to what they could generate while sitting.