Physical activity is an undeniable good. There is a very long list why this is, and equally, there is a very long line of people more qualified than us to recite that list, which probably makes you wonder why we think it’s worth talking about.
Well, exercise has some very obvious benefits. It helps you to become fitter, it reduces the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and it’s also a proven combatant to depression – ultimately, it makes you feel better. In the peak fitness culture of today, most of us are all well aware of these facts, but what few still recognise is the influence exercise has on the creative juices.
Over the years neurologists and general science folk have determined that creativity can be split into two separate brain functions: convergent and divergent thinking. The former is done when problem-solving, and the latter when coming up with original ideas. Now that’s about as scientific as we’re going to get, but the important part is that exercise provides an almost instantaneous improvement in the brain’s ability to do both.
It doesn’t take a rocket *sports* scientist to guess that aerobic exercises (prime suspects being running, rowing and swimming) are the standout performers in the study of exercise’s relationship with brain function, but it doesn’t have to be that gruelling (or sweaty).
Walking is just as good a fuel to those nearly-there ideas as any of them. And better still, you don’t have to be enjoying a leisurely stroll in the Lakes for it to take effect – the act of walking is all you need, so get those legs moving and feel the creative inspiration take shape.
But the truth is we’re not saying anything new here. Aristotle, William Wordsworth, Charles Dickens (we could go on) all used walking to improve their work. More recently, the late Steve Jobs brought much publicity to the “walking meeting”, whereby all of his more serious business conversations were taken on the move. Now if you’re reading this on an iPhone (apologies Android users) then the proof of what we’re saying here is literally in the palm of your hand.
A client of ours swears by this and has introduced a once monthly walking meeting as a result. Now we’re doing it. You should give it a go too.