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Walk a bit to get creative

health and fitness Updated: Apr 27, 2014 13:50 IST

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Not being able to crack a solution to an office problem or feeling brain-jammed while in the middle of writing a creative plot? Go stroll around to get free-flowing thoughts back. Taking a simple walk may lead to more creativity than sitting, says research.

“Incorporating physical activity into our lives is not only beneficial for our hearts but our brains as well. This research suggests an easy and productive way to weave it into certain work activities,” explained Marily Oppezzo from Santa Clara University.

Many people claim they do their best thinking when walking. With this study, we finally may be taking a step or two toward discovering why, he added.

To figure this out, Oppezzo and colleague Daniel L Schwartz from Stanford University’s graduate school of education conducted studies involving 176 people, mostly college students.

They found that those who walked instead of sitting or being pushed in a wheelchair consistently gave more creative responses on tests commonly used to measure creative thinking.

When asked to solve problems with a single answer, however, the walkers fell slightly behind those who responded while sitting. Of the students tested for creativity while walking, 100% came up with more creative ideas in one experiment. In other experiments, 95%, 88% and 81% people from walker groups had more creative responses compared with when they were sitting, said the study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.