Deane & McLoughlin


Exercise = Creativity???

Friday, July 31, 2009

It is assumed that exercise is good for our mental health, but does it make us more creative?

Masses of recent research have convinced the majority of us that hitting the treadmill, going for a bike ride or doing anything that gets our heart racing significantly helps our mental health, in terms of being more alert and energetic. But how about creativity?

A recent article in anthill magazine examined this in a bit more detail but basically thought that given exercise is great for brains, surely it should also be good for creativity. They recruited a bunch of people and divided them into three groups. Group 1 did no exercise prior to completing a creativity task (I'm thinking lucky them). Group 2 completed 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking, bike riding, swimming and running, and following this, completed a creativity task. Group 3 participated in 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, however, they had to wait two hours before completing the creativity task.

Both group 2 and 3 performed significantly better on the creativity task than did the no-exercise group. As well as concluding that aerobic exercise enhances creativity, they also pointed out that the positive effects of this activity are somewhat enduring, and certainly last at least up to two hours after completing exercise - sort of like a good exercise hangover

There are many ways that you might like to apply this finding to your own life, however active or sedentary it currently is. Anthill magazine has a couple of suggestions such as incorporating exercise into your morning routine, create a lunchtime walking group at work and even running a mini-aerobics session right in the middle of your next meeting! (Appealing, I know-recognise the sarcasm) However, if you spend your days in a work environment like mine, the only exercise done during the day is in the 5 minutes break you take to walk to and from the convenience store to get several blocks of chocolate for the office.

Obviously this is not ideal. So. From now on, Im going to try to add a bit more exercise to my day just so I can be more creative. Hopefully it works...and maybe if I'm lucky I might be able to look like this at the same time!

Laura xxx

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