Friday, August 29, 2014

The Marriage of Exercise and Creative Thought

Did you know that exercising actually increases blood flow to the brain and helps a person to focus?

It's true. 

Brain research shows a correlation between physical activity and the development of brain connections. In 2010, the journal Pediatrics released a study showing that children with as little as 15 minutes of recess each day exhibited better behavior and attention spans than their peers who did not have recess. The Journal of Attention Disorders even states that walks outdoors that normally are associated with recess appear to improve attention and concentration scores of students with ADHD. -The Effect of Recess on Academics
 Not only does physical activity spur the development of brain connections, but it may result in clearer thinking and organizational ability, as research has shown an improvement in recall:

Recess provides a break that allows the brain to "regroup," and research has shown that recall is improved when learning is spaced out rather than condensed. After recess, children are more likely to learn because they are less tense and more invigorated. Even adults are given breaks during their work day, which allows for better production and clearer thinking.
Maybe you don't have time for "recess" in your busy day. Whether you're surrounded by kids or surrounded by other adults, it can be difficult to step out and get some physical exercise without somebody needing you. Yet we know that a break to watch TV and eat chocolate isn't going to have the same brain-clearing effects as physical exercise. It's worthwhile to carve out time in your day to exercise.

Personally, I get a lot of story ideas while running.

One of the scenic places I run by when I'm brainstorming

But I know some people prefer Zumba or UFCor even Spartan obstacle course racing. I have a crazy brother who does the latter and is a certified Spartan trainer. Someday I'll be that awesome. They jump over freakin' FIRE at the finish line!

Anyway, back to how exercise improves clarity of thought. How are you doing on your plotting? Characterization? Ever get stuck? A quick rise in blood flow to your brain might be just the thing...

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy your plotting, on and off the treadmill. 


  1. You know, I'm going to keep trying that "eat chocolate" method until I'm quite sure if it does (or doesn't) work... ;)

    Haha, but seriously, the days that I work out before sitting down at the computer are much more productive. I'd be curious to try a treadmill desk someday.

  2. As soon as the kids get back in school... I really, honestly, positively plan to work in some exercise time. For real!! Maybe even a few times a week! :-)


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