“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche
In 2014, a study at Stanford University provided confirmation to what many creatives have for a long time believed — that walking can be beneficial to creative thinking.
The study found that walking (indoors or outdoors), boosted creativity. Interestingly, it wasn’t the environment that made a difference to creativity, it was the act of walking itself.
The world is a much more sedentary one that it once was with the increase of a higher use of computers, more cars and public transport readily available, and manual jobs being replaced by desk jobs. In 2008, the United States American National Health Interview Survey found that 35% of adults were considered inactive.
Nineteenth century Russian composer Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky took a two hour walk each morning before composing in the afternoon.
Novelist Charles Dickens walked up to thirty miles a day.
Apple founder Steve Jobs often held meetings whilst walking.
Henry David Thoreau wrote that; “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”
But why? The answer is quite simple. As we walk, the heart beast faster, circulating more blood and oxygen around the body (particularly the brain), thus improving mental clarity and creative thinking.
The next time you’re feeling bored or particularly uncreative or unproductive, trying going for a walk.
That could mean a walk through the woods or walking around your house or place of work for a few minutes.
Make it a daily practice in order that it becomes a habit.