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!