Creatives and exercise don’t generally seem like they go hand in hand. In fact, it’s not unusual for more ‘arty’ students in high school to hide away whenever mention of physical activity gets a look in. Once we reach adult life, though, this avoidance is not only a health risk, but may also be a driving reason for things like creativity blocks and lacking vision. After all, it was Nietzsche who said that you should ‘sit as little as possible,’ and it’s this very sentiment that’s seen artists including Hugh Scott Douglas and Natalie Provosty each becoming self-proclaimed workout converts. Science, too, is increasingly coming to back the creative benefits of working out, with studies showing that, in some cases, exercise can quite literally enhance the brain’s receptivity to creative vision. Here, we prove why your creative vision could benefit from even just a daily stroll by asking how exactly exercise has become the hidden key to creativity?
Exercise encourages mental clarity
For creatives who make the most of their workouts regularly, mental clarity is possible not only through the thinking time that exercise provides (as outlined by Mirukami in ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running,’) but also due to literal brain changes that scientists are only now becoming aware of. Recent studies revealing post-exercise brain growth in areas such as the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex especially point to improved cognitive functioning, and thus increased creative vision, from even short bursts of exercise.
Time outdoors harvests ideas
While getting outside might be the last thing you want to do when your sofa and pj’s are calling, creatives who invite a second wind for outdoor exercise, either through taking a supplement like the APN intense pre workout or through warmups etc., also open themselves up for some of the best ideas. On a basic level, walking or running outside can feel like a mental breath of fresh air that allows ideas to flow more freely. Further to this, the opportunity to people-watch and observe nature and new locations can also get the ball rolling on ideas that would never be possible from sitting and stagnating at a desk.
Endorphins create a positive outlook
While we don’t have time to list all of the feel-good hormones that exercise can create here, the rush of endorphins that we all experience directly after any form of exercise can also greatly enhance feelings of self-confidence and a generally positive outlook. Perhaps in a less direct way than the other benefits mentioned, this feel-good boost (believed to last as long as two hours post-workout) can encourage openness to try new ideas, and even a kinder approach to work that, too often, we as artists view with a critic’s eye.
Execution might largely take place at your desk/canvas/camera, but ideas aren’t created through looking at a screen. Rather, creative vision, and the free flow of ideas, rely on your ability to get out into the world. And, what better way to do that than with a little exercise?