Boost Your Creativity With Exercise

Have you ever cleared your head by going for a long walk? Or been out for a jog and come up with a fantastic idea? Exercise will do that.
 
But did you know there’s a physiological reason for it?
 
As a graphic designer, I regularly go for a run if I hit a creative block. By the time I’ve clocked a few miles, I’ve usually had a breakthrough and a new idea. Yet I had never really given much thought to how or why this happens.
 
Running and walking can be extremely beneficial to your brain and your creativity because:
 
The repetitive “reciprocal” stepping stimulates the blood flow to both sides of the body and consequently the right and left brain. This helps us to think clearer, and more creatively.
 
Steve Jobs regularly went for long walks during his life, and he’d frequently bring colleagues and business partners along. They worked through complex issues and generated amazing ideas while walking the streets of Palo Alto.
 
As entrepreneurs, we need to create on a daily basis – whether it is a new product or service, a marketing strategy, or a business plan. And preparing our minds for this process is important.
 
Walking or running is a great starting point – and it’s particularly enhanced if you take it outdoors.
 
Why is this best for your creativity?
 
Because it:
 

  • Stimulates your senses. You smell different scents, hear new sounds, feel the sun on your face, and can take time to see the beauty of nature around you.
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  • Relaxes you. The fresh air encourages you to take deeper breaths, which has calming effects. Ever had creative block right before a deadline? Or had the kids whining while you tried to finish writing a blog post? Stress kills creativity!
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  • Gives you a break. Outside the confines of our homes and offices, we can clear space in our minds for new ideas. Taking a break every 50 minutes or so during the work day improves productivity, too.
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  • Gets you inspired. Changing the scenery can give you a new perspective, and the beauty of nature is simply boundless.

 
The next time you have a mental block, a problem to solve or just need a break:
 

  1. Try going for a walk or run.
  2.  

  3. And get outside if you possibly can.

 
You may be surprised at how good you’ll feel – and at how creative you can be!
 
 

What steps have you taken to boost your creativity?

 
 

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Shannon Whealy

Shannon Whealy is a visual brand creator and the founder of Turnaround Design. She partners with small business owners to translate their brand messages and build memorability through design.
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12 Comments

  1. tisha

    You are absolutely correct, even just 10 minutes of physical activity can have a huge impact. When I run I solve all the world’s problems. I’ve stopped using headphones and let ideas, etc come to me. I just have to remember to write them down when I get back.

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      I totally agree, Tisha. I feel SO much better when I run or walk or do yoga even for 20 minutes. 🙂

      Reply
    • Shannon

      You’re so welcome, Heather!!

      Reply
  2. Abby Butts

    I experienced this two days ago! I had been staring at a design problem for several days and had no clue how to fix it or where to even start. After my evening run, BAM! inspiration hit and my design problem was solved. I’ve found that if I can get outside and focus on something other than my problem for a few minutes, the answer comes to me much easier and with less frustration.

    Reply
    • Shannon

      That’s awesome, Abby! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Nica Mandigma

    These are simple, no cost ways to get your creative juices flowing and they’re very healthy, too!

    In my case, I like taking a walk whenever one of my clients get me down and just stay unplugged. I come back recharged and ready to take whatever is on my plate.

    Reply
    • Shannon

      Great idea to stay unplugged, too! Thanks for sharing, Nica.

      Reply
  4. Prerna

    Excellent tips, Shannon and something, I’m going to put to use right away.. I need the exercise AND the time to think.. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Reply
    • Shannon

      You’re welcome, Perna! Hope you had a great walk or run!

      Reply
  5. Lisa

    Shannon

    Thanks for this. Sometimes you just gotta get up from your desk to get the creative juices flowing. Taking a walk is a great way to get in exercise and rejuvenate mentally.

    Reply
    • Shannon

      You’re welcome, Lisa! 🙂

      Reply

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