Creativity is a very elusive thing, yet one that’s required for most things in life. Whether you work in an office or you’re an artist, creativity makes your work feel more fulfilling and allows you to complete tasks in more inventive ways. According to a new study, it’s also something that can be cultivated easily, like by going on a walk or moving around.
The study, published in Scientific Reports and conducted by researchers from the University of Graf, found links between physical activity and imagination. Researchers discovered that active people are able to have more and better ideas during tests of inventiveness when compared to people who are sedentary.
The study tracked the routines of 79 adults while also measuring their creativity, trying to find points in which these two factors aligned. Participants wore activity trackers and after 5 days were asked to visit a lab in order to complete different creative tasks, like finding new uses for car tires, umbrellas, and completing partial drawings. These people were also asked to complete a questionnaire, which assessed their moods.
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When this data was crosschecked and analyzed, researchers found that the more active people were, the more creative they were when performing their tasks. These findings had no relation to mood — the links were based solely on activity levels and creative performance.
Physical activity has a history of changing the way we think, reflected in animal and human studies. Movement increases blood flow, oxygenating our brains and providing it with nutrients and blood that promote the cell growth. There’s a reason why people suggest going on walks when feeling stuck at work, or being frustrated by a problem.
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When it comes to creativity, the science is much more sparse. This term has always had an aura of mystery, being very abstract and difficult to quantify in scientific studies. Research like this provides more background and information to terms like creativity, which are associated with certain types of people.
Creativity is something that we all obtain, and that can be cultivated and used to our advantage, whether we’re writing a novel or adding numbers on a spreadsheet.