I do some of my best thinking when I’m strolling along the Hudson River, making my way (on foot) to the subway, or walking my little guy, Remington.
For me, thinking and moving always go hand in hand. Which is what makes today’s topic so intriguing…
In fact, ancient Greek philosophers discovered this connection more than two millennia ago. And now, modern scientists are shedding some light on how, exactly, movement helps us to think more creatively…
Freedom is the key
In a new study, researchers explored the connection between movement and cognition.
Ultimately, they wanted to determine if active people are more creative than their sedentary peers.
As it turns out, movement itself isn’t what allows us to think more creatively. The real connection lies in the freedom to make the movements that we choose to make.
Let me explain…
These scientists found that even small movements you make while sitting can have a positive impact on your creative thinking. (Like stretching your arms, rolling your neck, wiggling your toes, or practicing breathing exercises.) The key is having the freedom to move your body, in any way, without external constraints stopping you.
(Kind of makes you wonder how pandemic lockdowns affected our creative thinking, doesn’t it?)
This research also found that forcing movement into regular patterns—such as staring at small screens, like your phone or your tablet, for too long—can hamper creative thought.
Your brain starts seeing this as a repetitive movement, which may negatively impact cognitive processes associated with creativity.
Of course, these discoveries raise a lot of interesting questions about how people interact with their environments. And as an integrative health doctor, I actually take this into consideration in a constant effort to improve interactions with my patients. Because there are many ways in which our different body parts interact with each other and the outside world.
Creativity comes in many forms
Being a good doctor requires knowing how to communicate to patients in a way that really motivates positive change. Not just dispensing canned advice or stale lectures.
So, here’s my attempt at doing just that: Make it a goal to incorporate movement into your life in a way that feels good. Not only will this help combat chronic disease, but it might just help you think more creatively—or reach a goal that may not come naturally to you.
(And yes, that means taking breaks from technology, too. I outline the benefits of doing so in the current issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter [“The dark side of staying plugged in”]. Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one!)
As for me, writing helps me to tap into my creative side more freely. And incorporating movement into my writing routine adds to my success. (Personally, this means walking before, during, or after I sit down to write. Plus, if I’m ever faced with a work-related challenge, I like to walk and think on it.)
And along those lines, in case I haven’t said it lately, thank you for signing up, and thank you for reading my Reality Health Check e-letter and my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter. You are my inspiration, in more ways than one.
“Do we get our most creative ideas when walking?” Science Daily, 01/14/2022. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220114115643.htm)