Walking is as healthy as it is simple. This easy, natural movement has proven neurological and physiological benefits, but it can also help you to think more creatively.
For author Nita Sweeney, walking helps spark ideas in her writing. She says the rhythmic movement and the physical distance away from her work provide clarity to concepts that previously seemed too difficult to articulate.
“Once I let go of the thing I’m worried about or trying to figure out, often a solution will arise. It will often just pop up into my consciousness,” she said.
Sweeney is not alone. Lots of writers use walking to stimulate new ideas, or to refine the ones they’re struggling with.
Tim Tamashiro says he began walking when he was the host of Tonic, a music show on Canadian radio. Tamashiro said short walks would help him find the words he needed to fill the program.
“My daily routine would have me writing 12 to 16 short stories that I would prepare for the radio show. As you could imagine, I was often stuck with writer’s’ block. I learned that if I stood up and took a 10-minute walk outside I would return refreshed and ready with a fresh approach to the story I was working on,” Tamashiro said.
Tamashiro says he still goes for walks every chance gets, and it continues to inspire his creativity. He says walking proved to be a reliable tool when he wrote his first book.
“A brisk walk always helped me clarify ideas and come up with new approaches,” he said.
Walking can also help with other creative endeavors. Jeff Wilson, host of Real Rail Adventures on PBS, said that when he was a music major in college studying classical piano, he used to practice hard for a couple of hours and then take a break with a long walk, no matter the weather.
“I always came back to the instrument fresh and ready to play, with some of the problems I’d been experiencing in my playing ironed out from having just thought a bit about them,” Wilson said.
Wilson found that, when it came to walking and music, he was in good company. Ludwig Van Beethoven, Gustav Mahler, and Benjamin Britten all took long walks to spark their compositional ideas.
“Creativity is encouraged by walking,” Wilson said.