The study, which was led by professors at Stanford Graduate School of Education compared the creative responses of people who were sitting down to those of people who spent time walking indoors on a treadmill facing a blank wall or walking outdoors. For the study, participants were given the names of three different objects and were told to think of as many uses as possible for each of the three objects within a four-minute time period. Those who spent time walking on a treadmill scored an average of 60 percent higher on the creative thinking test than those who spent the same amount of time sitting down.
While the researchers weren’t able to pinpoint exactly how this exercise was able to spur creativity, they were able to guess that walking -- or any physical activity in general -- has a positive effect on endorphins and other chemicals in the brain that control our moods and overall well-being. In the same manner that exercise makes us feel more positive and happy, exercise can also boost our thinking patterns and make us more receptive to new thoughts and ideas.
If you’re just starting out on your journey to weight loss, here are four simple ways to add walking to your daily routine:
- Go for an after-dinner stroll. Walking can aid in digestion and can be done pretty much everywhere. Take your family, partner, or pet for a walk after dinner to get both your brain and body moving.
- Add walking to your strength-training routine. If you focus mainly on strength training, add some cardio to your workout routine in the form of walking to clear your head following your strength workout.
- Talk a walk on your lunch break. If you have a sedentary office job, take advantage of your lunch break to work in some extra exercise, even if you usually go to the gym following your shift. If your lunch break is a short 30 minutes, try to dedicate the last five or 10 minutes of your break walking around the building.
- Play with friends or family members. If you have children, play with your children or help them practice sports. If you don’t have children, play with a pet, or hang out with friends who enjoy hiking, shopping, dancing, and other activities that require you to stay active.