Albert Einstein said of the theory of relativity, “I thought of it while riding my bicycle.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said of Thoreau: “The length of his walk uniformly made the length of his writing. If shut up in the house, he did not write at all.”
Christopher Bergland, endurance athlete, author and political activist. says of exercise: “Sweat is like WD-40 for your mind—it lubricates the rusty hinges of your brain and makes your thinking more fluid. Exercise allows your conscious mind to access fresh ideas that are buried in the subconscious.”
Anyone who exercises regularly has had this experience. And new research methods are confirming anecdotal evidence that ideas and fluid thinking are generated by movement — particularly repetitive, mildly aerobic activity, like walking, jogging and cycling.
An influential study found that people had a more creative day when daily movement exceeded the average.
Another study from Stanford University found that people on treadmills had more creative ideas than those sitting down.
LinkedIn‘s When the social network, LinkedIn, was starting up, staff had to take conference calls on the move because they didn’t have enough office space. This constraint turned out to greatly boost their creative ideas, according to CEO Jeff Weiner, and the company continues to have “walking meetings” to this day.
The message is clear: If you want to be more creative, shake it up, walk it out, dance it down… but find some way to move to the groove.
I’m thinking of maybe getting a Treadmill Desk. Have you tried this — or any other movement-related creative boost?