Exercise gets the creative juices flowing

Researchers have long known about the benefits of exercise in terms of weight and stress reduction, cardiovascular improvements and other positive side effects. Now comes news that should warm the heart of any business owner: a team of Rhode Island College researchers has demonstrated the positive effect of exercise on creative thinking.

The researchers asked 60 adults, aged 18 to 27, to take something called the Torrance Tests of  Creative Thinking. The test group did so once after being sedentary, once after 30 minutes of exercise and once after 30 minutes of exercise followed by two hours of rest. The result: exercise resulted in dramatically higher creativity scores.

This is a real no brainer to me. I’ve always believed exercise opened my mind to new ideas while05122514_1   refreshing my entire body from the stresses of the day. In fact, I love to workout at lunch, since it cuts the day in two, helps me unwind after the morning’s frivolities and come back refreshed and ready for the afternoon. The long-distance running I do on weekends almost always prompts a rash of new, creative (and usually useless) ideas for my firm. In fact, I’ll often sit down and write an e-mail to our management right after I’ve finished my run.

Now that exercise has been proven to improve creativity, I wonder if we’ll see some ad and PR firms start equipping their conference rooms with elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and treadmills? When you stop to think about it, doing so would really project positively on the image of any business.

Mostly every executive I know believes in investing in exercise and health club memberships, believing each to be a smart corporate health initiative. Now that there’s proof exercise helps with creativity, I could see more than a few of my agency principal buddies humming away, "Gotta go to Mo’s…" as they head off to buy gym equipment for the office.

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