If you get the itch to amble over to the window or wander down to the break room when you hit a creative wall it may be you should give in to the impulse. Far from being off task or a time waster, walking appears to be a critical tool to improving productivity and innovative problem solving. Putting one foot in front of the other turns out not to be simply a concrete and unimaginative plodding but is instead a key strategy to help you jump-start the creative process.
It is a concept worth much more thought when you take your next walk. Research conducted at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education indicates that the physical act of walking caused test subjects to think more creatively. Although much more research needs to be completed to find out what may account for this phenomenon, walking greatly improved the richness and flow of thoughts of the test subjects in this study.
A Portal To Better Health And More Creativity
Earlier research had demonstrated that introducing aerobic exercise, including walking, into a daily routine protected a variety of cognitive functions. Improvement in concentration and attention to details appears to follow that improved flow of oxygen into the bloodstream. Other collateral enhancements attached to a simple walk include a lift in mood, an increase in self esteem and a general feeling of well being. All of those positive reactions are now proven to be joined by a response that has a direct connection to increasing creativity.
Do You Feel More Creative During A Stroll?
Think about your own approaches to a creative block. If you get restless and are inclined to pace or amble about, do not resist the urge fearing it is only a time waster. Prior to the publication of this research many people reported they experience more creative thinking during a walk, and this research goes a fair distance towards confirming these anecdotes.
Whether further research will confirm that an increase in circulation opens the mind or a more complicated set of physiological and neurological connections improves cognitive control of imagination may be irrelevant to you and your business. As long as new and innovative thinking results from walking it is more than worth the minimal investment in time. It is also budget neutral as it cost nothing more than time to take a walk.
Easy To Integrate Into Any Day And Anywhere
One very interesting point about the results is the location of the walk does not appear to be critical. Increases in creative uses for sets of objects and novel approaches to word associations occurred whether the walking occurred outside or inside. Even walking on a treadmill with a view of a blank wall boosted creative thought. Leaving the office to stride through a park or staging a retreat at a nature center would give many opportunities to put the research to the test, but it appears the physical action of walking anywhere is the key.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect is that taking the walk increases creativity even after the walking is completed. Although not as strongly correlated as the increases in creativity during the walk, subjects experienced a residual increase in creative effect after walking. Integrating the boost walking gives thus can be done during a traditional meeting that started with a walk and ended in the conference room.
Nothing stands between your team and an invigorating flow of creative ideas when you take the first steps toward integrating a creative walk into the business routine. No cost and a minimal time commitment sweep away any objection to trying this approach. Nothing to lose and immense possibilities for innovation and insightful problem solving make this approach a true walk in the park.