The Surprising Brain Benefit of Taking a Walking Meeting

Getting outside will get your creative juices flowing.

Halfpoint / Shutterstock
Halfpoint / Shutterstock

Fighting off that mid-afternoon slump is a struggle — and one that can hit especially hard when you need to be on your creative A-game. Whether you’re brainstorming for a project or are searching for an out-of-the-box solution, getting in touch with your inventive side can be challenging when you’re seated at a desk all day. 

“Staying inside in the same location is really detrimental to creative thinking. It’s also detrimental to doing that rumination that’s needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an ‘aha’ moment,” says Kimberly Elsbach, Ph.D., a professor of management at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management. One simple practice to help unblock your thinking is to turn a regular meeting into a walking meeting. A Stanford University study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition found that walking indoors or outdoors increased creative inspiration among participants. What’s more, the study found that levels of creativity were consistently higher among participants who walked instead of sitting down. 

Furthermore, the study confirms just how much a few minutes of movement can benefit our bodies and brains: Study participants experienced increased creativity even when they sat back down after taking a walk. So, if you need to get those creative juices flowing, or simply need a change of scenery, add a walking meeting to your calendar each day. You and your colleagues might be surprised at just how much a quick stroll outside can transform your workday. 

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