1. Walking is restorative. Walking empties my mind and gets me to focus on my surroundings. I listen to the waves lapping on the beach, or the cries of seagulls. I'll wave to other passing beach walkers like me, and sometimes pet their dogs and have a friendly chat about the weather. For any creative person who needs to be inside their heads for long periods in order to create, it helps to get completely out of your own head. For me, walking is meditative and therefore restorative.
2. Walking is healthy. Like many creative people, I often stress about the work I'm producing, not to mention the typical commercial worries like getting new clients or getting existing clients to pay. Such stresses can erode your physical and mental health, leading you to bad eating habits and an expanding waistline. I'm a big guy anyway, but walking helps me burn calories and keep more weight from creeping on me. As writers, we need to have healthy minds and healthy bodies. Walking is fine exercise, less jarring than jogging, more accessible than golf, less grueling than kickboxing. Walking also helps me sleep.
3. Walking is social. When I walk, I often do it with my wife and/or friends. Walking a few hours with someone you care about is a great way to catch up, take in some nature, and maybe grab an adult beverage afterwards, when you feel you've "earned" that glass of red sangria. On most nights, walking is the way I catch up with my wife. We talk about our days, our stressors big and small, and bring up any issues that need discussing.
4. Walking spurs creativity. According to a landmark study from Stanford University, walking enhances our ability to generate creative ideas. That same study showed that walking improves mood and increases our cognitive functioning. I've actually had great ideas pop into my head "out of nowhere" while walking. I then pull out my phone and create a new note in Evernote, so I can remember the idea later. Many creative people have had the same experience, finding breakthrough ideas and solutions while they're walking.
5. Walking gets us out of the house. I always say that writers need to get out of the house. You need to be in the world, with people, with nature, moving around, rather than sitting in front of a computer or TV screen. Walking is an easily-accessible antidote to the blues, at least it has been for me. Sometimes our minds can become our worst enemies, tricking us into believing we're hopeless and isolating us from the help we need. When I get the blues as we all do on occasion (alas), I just get up out of my chair, go outside, and start walking. It has the power to re-set me, getting me out of any rut.
Do you walk or exercise or do some activity to spur creativity? Share it with us . .