Steve Jobs, the late Apple founder, was known to do much of his creative thinking while taking a walk. He regularly held brainstorming meetings while walking. According to a study by researchers at Stanford University, there may be a reason people walk back and forth, or pace, when they are trying to think of a new idea. In a study of nearly 180 participants, it was found that a person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.
In this study, to gauge the effects of walking on creativity, researchers asked college students to complete certain tasks while sitting, and then again while walking. In one experiment, participants were given several sets of three objects and told to come up with alternative uses for them. The researchers found that participants were “overwhelmingly” more creative when walking as opposed to sitting. They also found that creative thinking from walking remained high shortly after sitting back down. What’s even more interesting is regardless of the location, walking boosts creative inspiration. The person walking either indoors (on a treadmill) or outdoors produced twice as many creative responses compared to a person sitting down.
Steve Jobs wasn’t the only executive known to favor walking meetings. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner all share this habit. So, an easy way to nurture children’s creativity is just to get them up and walking.