Take a Walk: Lose Weight; Gain Creativity

Feeling creatively empty? Take a walk!

That's right. New research recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, memory and Cognition concluded that people generate more creative ideas when they're walking than when they're sitting.

Ah, yes. All those long hours sitting at the computer trying to pull words from one's brain might be cut short by taking walking breaks.

Marily Oppezzo, a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and lead author for the study, actually was inspired to undertake the study while--what else--but walking around her campus with her thesis advisor. Read more about it here.

The study showed that walking boosts creative brainstorming, and that increased creativity continues when one returns to the chair. However, walking didn't have the same positive effect on focused thinking, the type of cognition required to provide specific correct answers to a problem or situation.

Takeaway Truth

I've always gotten my best ideas during my morning walk. I'd even noted that when I was stuck in a scene, I could leave the keyboard to do a few minutes of physical housework--the bane of my existence--and I'd suddenly realize what I needed to make the scene work. Next time you're stumped, take a walk.


  1. Joan,

    This is so true, and every writer needs to know to get up and get moving, not only to spark creativity but to keep our health. Our calves have been described as our 'little hearts'. We need to be up and moving at least 10 minutes of every hour to keep things pumping along.

    Writers can be a moody, broody bunch too. Exercise endorphins help us keep depression away. In the midst of winter, I like to get on the exercise bike when I'm stuck in a story. And if I value my sanity, I get my chubby rear out to for a walk, bike ride or to the gym at least 6 days a week.

    Write on!

    1. Cathryn, well said! I totally agree. My grandfather lived to be 100, and he walked every day of his life until the last couple of years.

      It's just too easy to take the path of least resistance and end up sitting all day on our "chubby rears." *g*

      Write hard; live free!