Steve Jobs often asked people to his house for a one-on-one meeting that would turn into a walk through his neighborhood. Jobs felt more able to work through problems during these peripatetic get-togethers. Come to find out, he was on to something. Physical activity, like walking, can actually make you more creative.
A new study by Marily Oppezzo and Daniel L. Schwartz of Stanford University shows that people walking are more creative than people sitting. It doesn’t matter where you go, inside or outside, just get going. Teachers have known for years that if you want to get a conversation going in a class, a little activity works wonders. The cliché, “getting the creative juices flowing” is now given a little more cachet.
As a teacher of creativity, I’ve found not only does physical activity work to help people think better, it also works to increase discontinuous problem solving. Discontinuous problem solving is when you stop working on a problem now and then to let it go into your subconscious. You subconscious continually associates unlike concepts while you do other stuff. Eventually, when a good association arrive, it send the message to your conscious brain for an “ah-ha” moment. Walking helps to take your mind off things for a little while so that “ah-ha” moment can arrive.