How Regular Exercise Can Boosts Creativity

I draw, paint, read and write.

Sometimes those things that have absolutely nothing to do with fitness. But I always make it a point to fit fitness in. I exercise. Regularly in fact. It’s essential.

Sometimes I go to the gym. Most of the time I don’t. I might workout at home, in my apartment. I prefer to go outside. Wherever I am, I’m probably doing some kind of bodyweight training. I like to use kettlebells. I keep it simple, intense and short.

Yes, I do all of these things because I want to look good. Who doesn’t? If someone tells you otherwise they are lying. But, I also exercise to feel good. Energy. Clear thinking. Focus. And now, science says that exercises makes us more creative too.

Chasing Creativity

Any creative knows that you can’t sit around and wait on inspiration. It’s like Jack London said, “you have to go after it with a club.”

Or maybe you should go after it with a pair of running shoes, a bike or a kettlebell?

New research shows that people who exercise regularly are more creative than their couch potato counterparts:

Almost every dimension of cognition improves from 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, and creativity is no exception. The type of exercise doesn’t matter, and the boost lasts for at least two hours afterward. Source – newsweek.

But, there’s a catch. If you don’t exercise regularly, working out could make you too tired to be creative. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t exercise. It just means that, when you do, you have to keep it start small. Keep it simple. Then slowing begin to pick up the frequency and intensity of your physical activity.

Cultivate Creativity

Unplug – I don’t have a television or a smartphone. Guess what? I didn’t spontaneously combust. I’m still alive. I get by just fine. Better than fine I think. I’m crazy productive and more creative than I’ve ever been.

I’m not saying you to follow my lead. It might not work for you. You don’t have to go off the grid completely. I do think you should try it from time to time. Shut everything down. Sit with yourself. Your thoughts. Go for a walk. Do whatever you want,  as long as it doesn’t involve a power button.

Upgrade your social circle – get cooler friends. Hang out with people who are smarter, more interesting and more creative than you. It’s true, we are the average of the five people we associate with. It’s time to trade-up.

Geek out – look, I’m a huge nerd. I’m good with it. I read, a lot. I read works by authors who are way, way better than me. It’s like the social circle thing. I’m not going to be a better writer, or get any smarter, by reading stuff that doesn’t challenge me. In my opinion reading is like exercise, it should be an essential part of your life. A priority. Like eating and breathing.

If you need help on the reading front, check out Ryan Holiday. He’ll show you how to read more. Tell you what to read. And show you how to keep track of what you read.

Train your idea muscle – If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, start reading James Altucher’s blog. He’s a fantastic writer. A wealth of knowledge. He shared one trick for creativity that has worked wonders for me.

Do this. Write down 10 ideas every day. That’s it. Carry a notebook with you. Think. Brainstorm. Then write down 10 ideas. Articles you want to write. A business you want to start. Anything. It’s how you train your brain to be more creative. Pretty soon you’ll have more ideas than you know what to do with. Welcome to my life.

EXERCISE! – I’m sure you saw this coming. Maybe you didn’t. Either way, exercise makes us more creative. Go to yoga. Bike to work. Do push-ups and squats at the office. Take a hike. Walk on your lunch break. Whatever you’re into, do it. Do it regularly. Be consistent. And prepare to be more creative.