Ever noticed that some of your most creative thinking is done while you’re walking? Whether you’re walking to work, a friend’s house, or even your car, your mind starts going. Research shows it’s not all in your head.
It doesn’t matter if you’re walking on a treadmill or along the beach, it’s the simple act of walking that helps boost creativity, according to a 2014 study from Stanford University. They conducted four experiments, testing participants on things like coming up with alternate uses for everyday items. In each case, individuals who were walking came up with ideas that were more “novel and appropriate” than participants who were seated. “The creative output increased by an average of 60% when the person was walking,” according to the study.
The good news is you don’t have to go for hours to reap the creative benefits of walking. In the study, the walkers were only on the move for 5 to 16 minutes, and they enjoyed the creative spike even after they’d stopped. It is not clear exactly why walking got the creative juices flowing, but the researchers say that this is just another reason why getting up and moving is such a vital exercise.