Need Inspiration? Get Moving!

Have you ever hit a creative roadblock? Exercise might be the answer to overcoming mental blocks, according to a new study.

The study revealed that people who exercise regularly are better at creative thinking compared to those who do not.

The researchers investigated whether regular exercise promoted the two main elements of creativity: divergent thinking and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking is the ability to think up as many solutions as possible for a certain problem. Convergent thinking leads to a single solution for a problem and requires less creativity.

Thinking Tasks

The researchers assigned “thinking tasks” to two groups of participants: people who exercise at least four times a week and people who do not exercise on a regular basis

First participants were given an “alternative uses task” that tested their divergent thinking by asking each participant to write down all the possible uses for common household items (e.g., a pen: to write, tie back long hair, poke holes).

Next, participants were given a “remote association task” that tested their convergent thinking. In this task, participants were presented with three non-related words, such as “time, hair, and stretch,” and had to come up with a common link, which in this case was “long.”

Sound Mind in a Healthy Body

On the remote association task, participants who frequently exercised outperformed those who did not exercise regularly. It appears that physical exercise trains the brain "to become more flexible in finding creative solutions.”

The researchers note, however, that the effects of exercise on creativity were not recognized over a long period of time. When the body enters back into a restful state, creativity diminishes.

Furthermore, if adults and children are new to exercising, a large part of the energy available for creative thinking goes to the movement itself.

Thus, it is important children begin exercising early to develop more automatic action-control routines, thereby allowing their energy to be used for creative thinking.

StepUp Summary:  

StepUp uses daily physical exercise and rhythmic movement to develop endurance, strength, and coordination.  These physical activities also include academic tasks (listening, talking, calculating and handwriting).  All StepUp exercises improve multitasking, or executive function, by integrating exercise and academic skills.

Watch this video to see StepUp to Learn in action!


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