Walking Improves Creative Thinking

Need to generate ideas? Take a stroll.

A study (pdf warning) published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition has found that walking can double your creativity.

Researchers had 176 subjects complete a series of experiments involving walking on a treadmill, walking outdoors, sitting inside, sitting outdoors, being pushed in a wheelchair, and different combinations of all that.

One experiment involved divergent thinking, a common test of creativity. Subjects are given an object (e.g., a tire) and have to think of an alternative use for said object (e.g., makeshift flower bed). Subjects were given sets of three objects and had four minutes to come up with as many answers as possible; if they gave a response no one else did, researchers considered it novel for the purposes of measuring creativity.

Overwhelmingly, subjects did better while walking. In fact, creative output increased by an average of 60% while walking. So, now that you’re twisting your arm, maybe you want to get out of the office and take a meeting while walking.

This is a test