Walk to Boost Your Creativity

Walking for Creativity

We’ve long been warned that our hours spent sitting at a desk writing can be dangerous to our health. But now we learn all that sitting could be inhibiting our creativity. From an April 28 article on Healthline:

“Looking to boost your creativity? You may want to get up from your chair and start walking. While regular aerobic exercise has been associated with protecting cognitive abilities, now, a new study by Stanford University researchers finds that walking indoors or outdoors may heighten creative thinking more than sitting. What’s more, the act of walking is responsible for the burst of creativity, not the environment.”

That’s right. It doesn’t appear to matter, creativity-wise, whether you walk outdoors or inside the mall or simply around your own home. The researchers found the act of walking itself is what produced more creative responses from study participants – more than either sitting inside or being pushed in a wheelchair outdoors.

Even Walking Prior to Your Creative Session Helps

An American Psychological Association article about the study noted –

 “ … there was a residual effect of walking on creativity when people sat down afterward. Walking before a meeting that requires innovation may still be nearly as useful as walking during the meeting.”

That’s important information for writers. You now have two times to schedule your walking:

 1. When you’re stuck on a plot point … or having trouble planning a complicated article … or working on your strategic business planning. Instead of leaning back in your chair to think about it – get up out of that chair and begin walking.

2. Just prior to your “writing” sessions. Have you been going to your desk first thing to write, then walking during your lunch break before doing your email and editing and admin-type tasks? According to this study, you’ve been wasting your creative bursts on non-creative activities. You may want to rework your walking schedule – either walking in the morning before your writing session; or starting the day with non-creative work, then walking, then writing later in your day.

And remember – no excuses for bad weather! Walk around your apartment building or your house for equal creative effect.

For more information: Earlier Articles on Walking as a Creativity Aide

From Brain Pickings
Maira Kalman on Walking as a Creative Device and the Difference Between Thinking and Feeling

From The Creativity Post
Thought Walking

What can you share?

What about your experience? Have you ever enjoyed a “creative burst” — either while walking or soon after returning from a walk? Please “Speak your mind” below.

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About Dana K Cassell

Hi, and welcome to our Network. I'm Dana Cassell and am the one writing most of the posts on this blog. I've been in this writing/editing business for way longer than I care to admit. My goal here is to provide you with useful insights from our professional members and from my own experience - to help you achieve your own success, grow your editorial business, and publish successful and worthy books,


  1. I love walking too and find it really helps you to free up your mind and your body. Nothing worse than sitting for hours and getting so stiff and sore.

    • You may be onto the secret, Sue. Perhaps that “mind-freeing” feeling is what allows the creativity to shine through.

  2. Hi Dana,
    Or swimming, I’m sure. Just had a delightful time doing some laps this afternoon – Invigorating! At 82 I’m still at it – just had LIM-R-DDLES REVISITED go live on Amazon and other ebooks. It’s an updated version of a nationally syndicated illustrated, scrambled limerick newspaper feature done 46 years ago. Ran in over 100 papers and was read and worked daily by millions. Simon and Schuster republished some in two books. Lots of fun and challenge for word and puzzle fans for just $2.99. Working on three other books #s 16, 17 and 18.

    • So, Dick, can you relate your swimming specifically to boosting your creativity (separate from being invigorating)? Would be interesting to know if any studies have been done for swimming – or whether walking alone correlates directly with creativity.

  3. Dana, I just posted your helpful newsletter article on my Facebook page as well! Super article!

  4. Great article linking our creativity to walking! I posted it on my FB page to remind other writers and computer slugs to start moving for creativity.
    Marcia Fine

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