So how much does it improve? According to the study, the creative output increased by an average of 60% when the person was walking.
One of the interesting findings was that it was the act of walking, and not necessarily the environment, that was the main factor. The researchers found that those walking indoors on a treadmill facing a blank wall had similar improvement in creative responses as to those walking outside.
"I thought walking outside would blow everything out of the water, but walking on a treadmill in a small, boring room still had strong results, which surprised me," Oppezzo said.
The study also found that these improvements in creativity continued to flow even when a person sat back down after a walk.
Walking doesn’t help all thought processes though. The study found that walking did not have a positive effect on the kind of focused thinking required for single, correct answers.
"This isn't to say that every task at work should be done while simultaneously walking, but those that require a fresh perspective or new ideas would benefit from it," said Oppezzo.
What to make of this
We all know the effects of sitting for too long on the body. I am always talking about in my blog posts and when I see people in the clinic. This study is another justification as to why having regular breaks from sitting is important. Not only will these regular breaks help relieve aching muscles and poor posture, but they could also help your creativity and innovation.
Try a walking meeting
One way of incorporating walking into your day is to have walking meetings. Steve Jobs and Mark Zukerberg are both known to have walking meetings. Nilofer Merchant, a corporate director, did a great TED talk on walking meetings, watch it here. Maybe there is a good reason for lots of companies trying this? It is worth a shot to see if it would be beneficial for you and your work.
news.standord.edu. The full article with how they did the experiments can be found here.
Image - smithsonianmag.com
Image - smh.com.au