Musicians, artists and writers say running can aid their creative thinking.
“Bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible.” (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar).
Physical Exercise, Mood and Creativity
The ideas was debated in sports science 10-15 years ago that physical exercise could enhance creative thinking. Some scientists found that exercise enhanced creativity occasionally. Other scientists researched the impact of various physical activities on mood and found that for some sports a single session could improve an individual’s mood.
Physical Exercise Enhances Creativity
In 1997, Scientific evidence of a definite link was reported between exercise and creativity – giving some support to the stories of artistic runners. Psychologists found that exercising or playing enhanced an individual’s creativity. Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (Volume 31, Issue 3), Steinberg and colleagues from Middlesex University, United Kingdom reported findings that mood and creativity were improved by physical exercise independently of each other.
Exercise for Creative Breakthroughs
The Runner’s World Guide to Running states that running ‘helps you to reach creative breakthroughs’ (p.25). Psychological research has found that bodily movement can enhance creative thinking. This supports the belief held by many men and women that going for a run can help them problem solve and overcome mental blocks. Running as a creative outlet can also bring wider benefits to health and wellbeing.
Benefits of Creativity
Studies have shown that there are several wider health and social benefits to creativity. Most creativity experts do agree that the benefits of creative expression include:
- Concentration on creative works strengthen the immune system
- Creativity releases emotions, reduces pain and contributes to repair of physical injury
- Personalised creations – of music, art, storytelling and writing – can lift self-esteem