Exercise as a Brain Function and Creativity Booster

Hey Angels and Alphas,

We’ve all heard that some people get their best ideas while they’re in the shower. Some might get them when they’re taking a stroll in the park. And some might get them when they’re not even looking for them.

Regardless of when your best light bulb moments happen, research has shown that people who regularly exercise will be more creative than the people who don’t.

Why is that?

Let’s talk about the science behind fitness and brain function.

There’s a plethora of research out there that correlates short-term bursts in creativity and physical exercise. In one example, researchers who did a study over at Stanford University back in 2014 analyzed the creative thinking abilities of more than 170 people.

They noted that the people who consistently provided more intuitive, more inspired responses on creative thinking tests did so when they were walking as opposed to being sedentary.

The impact of walking also extended to immediately after a training session was performed. While these participants didn’t really score as high when they were sitting down as when they were active and moving, the study participants who sat down for a second test after they completed their walk also experienced a residual effect. The result? Better performance on creative thinking tests for the people who walked as opposed to the people that didn’t walk at all.

Researchers in this study also concluded that walking boosted creativity regardless of whether it happened indoors or outdoors. This actually bodes very well for the people who love to take walking meanings or do the occasional stroll around the office during lunchtime.

What they alluded to was that incorporating more physical activity into our lives, whether it’s walking or not, is beneficial not just for our bodies, but our minds, as well.

The findings of this research suggest that staying active is a productive and easy way you can boost your creativity even if you have to weave it in next to other work activities.

Building on this prior body of research, there has been a new study performed by researchers at the University of Graz in Austria.

This study tried to determine what the link is between regular physical activity and the creative performance of individuals, instead of focusing on the short-term effects that were experienced immediately after exercise was performed.

What the scientists did was they gave all 79 participants activity trackers and started monitoring all their movements throughout a span of 5 days. They made sure to measure all activity, including high-intensity exercise, spontaneous movements, walking, everything that occurred during that span of about a week – not just the forced activities that occurred in a laboratory setting like in the previous study.

After participants went through those five days, their creativity was measured with various tests ranging from drawing exercises to methods of verbal association.

What they found was that the people who were the most active proved to be the most creative, experiencing a direct correlation between creative cognition and overall physical activity.

That’s big! We all know that exercise has been known to be a great mood booster. But this study goes further than that. Researchers wanted to parse out whether increased creativity was connected to happiness or not.

As it turns out, it’s not. The research showed that exercise was linked to creativity… independently. This means that even if your workout didn’t make you happier or boost your mood, it did still give you a boost in brain function.

So the next time you’re stuck on a problem that needs solving, or you need some inspiration… try going for a walk or doing some physical activity. Hop on your bike, lift weights, enjoy some sports, it’s your choice. The benefits are going to be two-fold… you’re going to train your muscles, bones, and heart to enjoy exercise, and you’re going to give yourself a brain function boost that results in higher creativity.

Even if you’re someone who can’t get away from the office whenever they want to, you can still use this approach to problem-solving by taking a stroll around the building or even engaging in some desk exercises.

Whichever way you choose to approach this, you really can’t go wrong with it. The science proves it – the people who are the most active tend to be the most creative.