A new study, conducted at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education found that participants gave more creative answers to questions meant to gauge creative thinking when they were walking, versus sitting.

“Asking someone to take a 30-minute run to improve creativity at work would be an unpopular prescription for many people,” said study researcher Daniel L. Schwartz, Ph.D. “We wanted to see if a simple walk might lead to more free-flowing thoughts and more creativity.”

The researchers wrote in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition study, “Walking had a large effect on creativity. Most of the participants benefited from walking compared with sitting, and the average increase in creative output was around 60%. “When walking, people also generated more uses, good and bad. Simply talking more, however, was not the sole mechanism for the increased activity. When walking, people generated more uses, and more of those uses were novel and appropriate.”

In another experiment in the study, researchers wanted to find out whether the “outdoors” part of walking boosted creativity more than the “walking” part. They found that it was more the walking that seemed to prompt creative ideas, versus the being outdoors.

Similarly, a study led by researchers from Leiden University in The Netherlands showed that regular exercisers have greater creativity and perform better on cognitive tests than sedentary people.

“We found that people who are doing exercise on a regular basis outperform those who don’t,” study researcher Lorenza Colzato said. “We think that physical exercise trains your brain to become more flexible in finding creative solutions.” huffposthealth.com    4/25/14

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