Study: Exercise Boosts Creativity
Feeling uninspired? A quick workout can help boost your creativity and problem-solving skills, according to a small study published in the Frontiers of Human Neuroscience.
Researchers asked 96 participants—48 athletes (exercised at least four times a week) and 48 non-athletes (didn't regularly exercise)—to take a creativity test. The test had two parts. During the first part, they were asked to think of alternative uses for a pen and write them down. For the second part, they were given three words and asked to find the link between the words. For example, how the word "long" connected to the words "time," "hair," and "stretch." The result: Athletes did better on the second task compared to non-athletes.
Researchers noted that exercising regularly was associated with better divergent and convergent thinking—the two components of creative thinking. Divergent thinking involves multiple solutions for one problem, while convergent thinking involves finding one solution for a problem.
"Exercising on a regular basis may thus act as a cognitive enhancer promoting creativity in inexpensive and healthy ways," said study researcher Lorenza Colzato, a cognitive psychologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands.