Stanford Study: Walking Boosts Creative Inspiration by 60%

A Stanford study found that walking boosts creative inspiration by 60% on average. Walking increases blood flow to the brain, improves connectivity, and allows the mind to wander. The study suggests that walking breaks can lead to improved productivity and innovation.

Long Version

Walking has long been recognized as a way to improve physical health and mental wellbeing. Now, a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University has revealed that walking can also boost creative inspiration by an average of 60%.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, involved four experiments in which participants were asked to perform various creativity tasks while either sitting or walking. In the first experiment, participants were asked to generate as many uses for a common object, such as a paper clip, as they could in a set amount of time. In the second experiment, they were asked to come up with a creative name for a new product. In the third experiment, participants were shown three objects and asked to come up with a fourth object that could be associated with them. In the fourth experiment, participants were asked to write a creative story based on a given prompt.

In all four experiments, the researchers found that participants who walked, whether on a treadmill or outside, were more creative than those who sat. They were able to generate more ideas, come up with more unique and diverse ideas, and produce higher quality ideas. On average, the participants who walked showed a 60% increase in their creative output compared to those who sat.

Why Walking Boosts Creativity?

The researchers suggest that walking may boost creativity by increasing blood flow to the brain and improving the connectivity between different brain regions. Walking also provides a distraction-free environment that allows the mind to wander and engage in free-flowing thought processes, which can stimulate creative thinking.

Moreover, walking outdoors, in particular, has been found to have additional benefits. Exposure to nature and fresh air has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress, which can also enhance creative thinking. The study’s lead author, Dr. Marily Oppezzo, notes that “when you’re walking, you’re seeing new things, you’re hearing new things, you’re smelling new things, you’re moving your body in a different way – all of these factors can influence your thoughts and open up new avenues for creativity.”

Implications for Creativity and Productivity

The findings of the study have important implications for individuals and organizations looking to enhance creativity and productivity. Incorporating walking breaks into work schedules or creative activities could potentially lead to significant improvements in idea generation and problem-solving.

Furthermore, the study’s results suggest that walking could be an effective intervention for individuals struggling with creative blocks or mental fatigue. A short walk could provide a mental refresh and enable individuals to approach tasks with renewed energy and creativity.


The Stanford study provides compelling evidence that walking can significantly enhance creative output. Whether indoors or outdoors, walking provides an ideal environment for stimulating creative thinking and generating new ideas. Incorporating walking breaks into daily routines could potentially lead to improved productivity and innovation, making it an effective strategy for individuals and organizations looking to enhance creativity and achieve better outcomes.

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