Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Exercise your creativity

So this week I've been walking with Mac, my newly adopted dog (No, that's not me in the picture, but the dog looks like Mac). During our jaunts we have to climb an enormous hill, and I wind up huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf. The experience has underscored the extent to which I'd fallen into a sedentary rut before I got Mac. Make that a trench. 


People often say that exercise is good for creativity. After just one  week I can't tell much difference in my writing juices, so I decided to do a bit of research into the question: Does doing exercise assist creativity?

The good news: I found references to studies which indicated that yes, exercise does increase creativity. The bad news: That boost doesn't happen for people who are physically unfit. In cases such as moi, the fatigue from exercise seems to overwhelm the creativity boost.


That may explain why I haven't noticed any surge in productivity or inspiration this week. But there's always hope: As I get in better shape, I should be able to reap the benefits of exercise.


What about you? Does exercise get your creative juices flowing? What kind of activity do you do?

9 comments:

  1. Early morning, shooting hoops at a local park, always seems to bring things up. In fact, the other day, it brought up an idea for a blog post For Sunday.

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  2. Kathryn, I fast-walk each morning at a nearby, heavily wooded park. Surrounded by nature does help me mull over my ideas and plotting issues. When my wife comes home from teaching school, we head to the park again and repeat my morning walk. So I get two chances each day to take advantage of exercising as an opportunity to boost my creativity. It's one of my best resources for ideas.

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  3. Joe, I'm walking Mac 3xday now, so I look forward to the inspiration opportunities, once I stop feeling like I just ran a triathlon. Jim, shooting hoops sounds like fun, as well as exercise.

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  4. When I'm not trying to finish a project desperately (as I am now) I try to go to the gym each day. I walk there listening to my ipod and lots of scenes fill my mind. I do cardio workouts as well as yoga - yoga is great to help clear the mind and get the creativity flowing. I wish I was more disciplined in my yoga practice as I am sure my writing would improve:)

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  5. I'm very creative after strenuous exercise. I find ways to nap in a recliner, or in a wing chair, a a hard-backed wooden chair. In the car, with my head against the window, or not. (Rarely while driving.) At my desk, head supported by one hand on my chin, or one hand on my forehead. I'd name a few other places, but I haven't exercised enoug to think of them.

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  6. Dana--I'm with you on that napping after exercise. Sounds like a great plan to me! :)

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  7. For years I was really into exercise. I did heavy cardio 30-60 minutes every day, and not just long straight running either. Wind sprints, step jumping, circuit runs, rugby, soccer etc. I also lifted weight at a nearly competetive level. Bench-420 lbs, dead lift-520 lbs, leg press 970 lbs. I also seldom needed more than 4-6 hours of sleep and a couple of 10 minute cat naps, which meant many hours of creativity and creation. I loved it, like a perpetual fountain of youth.
    Then a skiing accident made every kind of exercise hurt, and some kinds downright impossible. When the exercise stopped my energy and dissipated exponentially. WIth less energy, those 10 minute catnaps became hourlong dog naps, and I now need 6-8 hours each night. Creativity also slowed, less time in the day, means less time making stuff up and more tiredness makes for slower thought processes.
    I am only now coming out of that funk. And hope sincerely that once I get back to my routine I will see every other aspect of the high energy life style come back as well.
    I also hope that I will be of considerably less mass, especially the jiggly middle-mass that undulates when I sneeze and makes my kids laugh hysterically if they witness said undulation

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  8. Right now my best inspirations come in the shower. For some reason it always triggers a writing thought, even if I'm not actively thinking about writing. Maybe it's the calm relaxation that does it, and post-exercise might bring on the same state of mind.

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  9. Kathryn--I wonder if a good massage would work the same way? I might have to test that theory!

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