Need a creative boost? Go for a walk.
Creative people walk. The strolling philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche concluded this 125 years ago in Twilight of the Idols, in which he claimed, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” This is my experience, too, and the reason this book exists. I needed to walk to research the routes in the book, true enough. But the reason I created this book is because I need to walk, every day.
Recent science has strengthened the link between walking and creativity. A study published early in 2014 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology by Stanford University professors Marily Oppezzo and Daniel L. Schwartz found links between physical activity and cognitive abilities, specifically, the effect of walking on creativity. The study, “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking,” concluded that when people walk, on a treadmill or in the great outdoors, creative ideas flow. The walkers had better ideas and more of them compared to the sitting group. And the benefits that came from walking continued after the walk was complete, when participants sat down again.
A walk also offers some downtime from the constant barrage of information that we all experience today. Moving aimlessly through the streets or pathways, picking your pace, letting your thoughts change with the scenery, and getting into a rhythm: that’s the power of a walk. When you put yourself in the position of “observer,” you allow your mind to wander and to land where it may, which in turn allows you to gain perspective and solve many a problem.
The attached artwork is amazing isn’t it? That piece and many more are in my book.
My Kind of Night, by Calgary artist Sheila Kernan