Creative Exercise?

Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay

Happy Tuesday, Friends!

Over the last few months, I’ve had two resolutions: workout more and maybe just maybe finish that novel I’ve been working on for the last 3 or 4 years.

But unless I want to get up at 4 in the morning (which no, no, I do not), I found myself having to choose between caring for my health (exercising) or feeding my soul (writing).

So, being the practical sort, I wondered if I could combine the two? I know it sounds crazy and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing hot yoga while penning the next great American novel.   However, I’ve been walking (and talking) for a long time now and I’ve discovered it’s entirely possible, with a little help from my phone’s speech-to-text memo function, to combine treadmill time with creative time.

Does it work?  I’m not claiming to write Shakespeare-level stuff (I’m dictating this blog post while walking), but I have found that I can knock out a few hundred words during a typical treadmill session.

Note: spelling and punctuation aren’t always perfect but that’s what editing is for right?

In fact, my little experiment worked so well it led me to ask the question:  Does exercise make you more creative?

A 2014 study entitled:  “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking” suggests that maybe my new habit of walking and composing isn’t so far off-base.  In this report, scientists from Stanford showed that walking on a treadmill significantly improved their participant’s scores on certain cognitive tests.  Specifically, they found improvement in a couple of things involved in the creative process:  specifically, convergent thinking, such as the ability to come up with solutions to a problem, and divergent thinking, which involves conceiving original ideas.

Also, when seated after walking, participants still exhibited a lingering creative boost, and walking outside seemed to produce the greatest burst of creativity.

Wow!  Why hadn’t I heard of this before?  I just thought I was being all efficient and multi-tasking, but science suggests that exercising makes me more creative?  Who would have thought?

And maybe I should try coming up with story ideas the next time I take a stroll around the neighborhood (though the neighbors might think I’m talking to myself).  But who cares?  I’m creating!

Have you had similar experiences?  Has a walk helped clear your head or helped you make important decisions?  Drop me a line and let me know!




  1. Jean De Muzio

    Hey Carol, what a bit of insight! And, yes exercise can spark the creative juices more. If I walk by myself, I can usually get a solution to a problem. When I swim, my mind goes on hold and is just occupied with the strokes and the breathing. But I have gotten some of my best creative art ideas while meditating. I’ve been meditating twice a day for more than 20 years and have been inspired through meditation to find an answer to a problem artsy or otherwise. So, yes I do think that exercise and giving ourselves a “time out” really does get the creative juices going. Good job, Carol for finding this creative muse!

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