A new study by Marily Oppezzo and Daniel L. Schwartz from Stanford University has conducted four experiments to demonstrate that walking boosts creative ideation in real time and shortly after.
People have noted that walking seems to have a special relation to creativity. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1889) wrote, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking”.
The current research puts such observations on solid footing. Four studies demonstrate that walking increases creative ideation. The effect is not simply due to the increased perceptual stimulation of moving through an environment, but rather it is due to walking. Whether one is outdoors or on a treadmill, walking improves the generation of novel yet appropriate ideas, and the effect even extends to when people sit down to do their creative work shortly after.
The studfy showed nearly 81% of individuals felt more creative when they were walking with walking outside produced the most novel and highest quality analogies. The effects of outdoor stimulation and walking were separable. Walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.
For the paper itself click here.