Do you feel sluggish at times?
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When you fire up your “creative” engines, do your engines sputter?
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Is it hard to come up with new creative ideas from time to time?
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Or… are you just finding it hard to break away from
your normal “creative” routine?
Most of us can use a creative energy boost now and again to help us generate new ideas or to get up the courage to step out of our “creative box” and try something daring and new. Of course, achieving quality sleep and rest on a regular basis is a huge part of improving our creative life, but there could be another important piece of the puzzle missing… it’s called, Exercise.
Exercise… you may or may not enjoy it while you’re doing it…
But feeling refreshed and ready to receive a creative boost is worth it
(without all the water, of course)
Maybe you love to exercise and are disciplined enough to include it into your daily routine. But with obesity on the rise and sedentary activities becoming increasingly more popular, it suggests that for most people, this is not the case. A real bummer for creativity. Sure, there are tons of folks creating and living creative lives out there who do very little exercising, but are they able to tap into their full potential or have they just settled with the limits they and their desk bound bodies have set for them. Now I’m not saying everyone has to be a creative “Rock Star” or that exercise is the cure-all in having a more creative life, but it sure can help. Just think, what if you had…
- an easier time generating new creative ideas
- more pep in your step
- an enhanced ability to problem-solve
- the energy to try something new
- a more positive outlook to create more beauty in your life
Like millions of others, exercise is an area I can definitely improve on. In my younger years, I was very active. A tomboy at heart, I would gladly volunteer to climb over rocks to catch a lizard or climb a tree, well, just because it was there. And in my teens and throughout my 20’s, I remained very active and would frequently jump at the chance to participate in anything that involved movement (i.e., 15-20 mile walk-a-thons, ride my bike 20 miles to the beach, take 10 mile long hikes). It just seemed easier to incorporate activity in my life back then, but as an adult I have to make a conscious effort to include it in my life. I do have to say one thing, over the years, the times I have been the most creative and actively involved in living a creative life, is when I was regularly exercising. Hmmmm.
Many published studies regarding the benefit exercise has on creative activities seem to support my observations. Below I’ve listed a summary of findings:
30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (heart rate at about 140) significantly and positively impact creative processes, and the effects can last about 2 hours immediately following exercise. In addition, the more you increase your fitness level, the greater the benefit to your creative process.
A cautionary note: The studies also indicated that if exercise is too intense, enough to cause the body to fatigue, it would negatively impact creative processes. So, if you have not been exercising regularly or at all, you should slowly build up to the 30 minutes to avoid body fatigue.
Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Lifts your mood and alleviates depression (your body releases hormones and neurochemicals that naturally boost your mood)
- Diffuses stress
- Gets oxygen pumping through your system (oxygenates your brain), again giving you a boost in mood and energy
- Exercising outside in sunlight increases the effect and the change of scenery is a bonus
Stretching is also beneficial for improving your creative life:
- Refreshes your energy
- Relaxes you and clears your mind (especially if you focus on your movement and the stretch rather than on your thoughts)
- Alleviates stress
- Becoming more limber enables you to do a wider range of creative activities
- Stretching also helps you to get a better night’s sleep
“Supercharge” your creativity
While you are exercising, get your mind on creative things – stop looking at your feet while you walk and observe the things around you.
If you find yourself thinking about current to-do lists, an argument that occurred earlier in the day, or just general chatter in your mind, pick up your pace for a short spell until all you are focused on is the physical activity itself. This will help to clear your mind and allow you to focus on something more creative.
Pinny can sure teach us a thing or two about
moving our bodies.
She’s still an energy superstar!
Motion is at the very core of life and our creativity. I firmly believe that the less motion we experience in our day, the less life we experience. So, I’m with you… it’s time to get out of my chair and start moving to get my creative juices flowing. Shedding the extra unwanted pounds I’ve been carrying around will be a super bonus!
Go to the next post in my series: Day 5 & 6: Eat Better