How many times have you sat staring at your computer screen just waiting for that big idea to come, to no avail? Next time, go for a walk! Researchers at Stanford University have found that people come up with more creative ideas when walking rather than sitting.
In their study, Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz had people think up new ideas while sitting at a desk or walking on a treadmill at their own comfortable pace. The researchers measured creativity with a well-known test called Alternate Uses that assesses how well people come up with ideas that deviate from the norm. The Stanford researchers found that people not only came up with more creative ideas when walking versus sitting, the effects of walking carried over for a while, so people who sat after walking did better than people who sat the whole time. So you’re bound to be more creative when you’re back at your desk after your walk as well.
But does the type of walk matter? According to a study by Chun-Yu Kuo and Yei-Yu Yeh published in Frontiers in Psychology, the answer is yes! The researchers had undergraduate students from the National Taiwan University think about alternate uses for chopsticks while they walked the perimeter of a 400 by 500 meter rectangular area or wandered freely within the area. They all then had 10 minutes to list uses. Turns out the free walkers did better than the rectangle walkers on fluency (the number of feasible uses), flexibility (the number of different types of uses) and originality (how uncommon their answers were).
So take a leisurely, meandering walk to spark the most creativity within you. But before you do, walk on over to GARMANY for the latest in athleisure wear, so you’ll good when you get up and get moving!