Does exercise improve creativity?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article on the question: does exercise improve creativity?

I have long argued that more exercise helps me to write. I work at a treadmill desk and I when I’m writing I’m always walking at the same time. I love it!

But even before I acquired the treadmill, I’d typically go for a walk in my neighbourhood before writing. I have somehow always associated writing with walking. Now science appears to be showing that I may be right.

In a New York Times article published Feb. 3/21, reporter Gretchen Reynolds describes a study recently published in Scientific Reports, where researchers from the University of Graz in Austria, tracked a group of average adults and also measured their creativity to see if the two aligned.

According to Reynolds, “the researchers gathered 79 healthy adults, gave them activity trackers for five days and then asked them to visit the lab and let their imaginations soar, conceiving new uses for car tires and umbrellas and finishing partial drawings. The researchers then rated their output on its originality and other measures.”

The findings point to “an association between creativity and physical activity in everyday life,” according to Christian Rominger, who is the study’s lead author and a professor of psychology at the University of Graz.

Or as Reynolds puts it, ” the results do intimate that active imaginations start with active lives.”

Scroll to Top