Students taking part in a study consistently came up with more creative solutions to problems after taking a walk.
When tested for creativity a surprising 100pc of walkers scored higher than those who just sat on a chair.
In subsequent different experiments the walkers were ahead by anywhere between 81pc and 95pc.
Students were given mental tasks while sitting and then after walking. It did not matter whether they walked on a treadmill or outdoors, the ones who walked were consistently more creative.
While previous research has shown that regular aerobic exercise may protect cognitive abilities, these researchers examined whether simply walking could temporarily improve some types of thinking, such as free-flowing thought compared to focused concentration. “Asking someone to take a 30-minute run to improve creativity at work would be an unpopular prescription for many people,” said Dr Daniel Schwartz of Stanford University. “We wanted to see if a simple walk might lead to more free-flowing thoughts and more creativity,” he added.
His co-researcher pointed out that while “many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking with this study, we finally may be taking a step or two toward discovering why.
“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,” said Dr Marily Oppezzo of Santa Clara University.