Have you been struggling to come up with a new business idea? Is writer’s block keeping you from finishing that screenplay? Are you having trouble finding a theme for this year’s fundraiser? Get your creative juices flowing again with a brain-boosting exercise break. Just 20 minutes of aerobic exercise can kick your brain into high gear, particularly when it comes to producing new and creative ideas.
Of course, using physical activity to help the thinking process is nothing new. Throughout time, people with something on their minds have paced floors or gone for long walks to process their thoughts, but it’s only during the last few decades that scientific research has shown just how it helps.
Several important studies showing the effect of exercise on higher brain functions were published in the 1980s, which confirmed that cardiovascular workouts don’t just increase the speed at which we process information, but also improve our ability to generate ideas, create strategies and to think in original ways. These effects are stronger for people who exercise regularly, but studies in the 1990s showed that even a single, isolated bout of exercise can significantly boost creativity.
An exercise-fueled brainstorming session will even continue after your workout ends. A 2005 study, published in Creativity Research Journal, confirmed that “aerobic exercise significantly impacted the creative processes” and that the “effects were shown to endure over a two hour period.”
So, the next time you need a burst of creative ideas or inventive solutions, rather than just having another cup of coffee, considering fueling your brain with a healthy dose of exercise.