Take a walk, a jaunt, a stroll. Get out and strut, saunter, or promenade. I don’t care what you call it, just get up and MOVE!


A recent study at Stanford found creative thinking improves during and after a walk.  While participants in the research were leisurely walking on a treadmill, they were instructed to come up with different uses for an object (like a button – which could be a doorknob in a dollhouse, you get the picture). Most of them were able to come up with 60% more uses for the object than participants sitting down. And, the results were similar whether walking indoors or outside (yes, this surprised me too).

So, that explains why Steve Jobs often had walking meetings. So do  Obama and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.  Other walkers?

Beethoven – carried a notepad and composed while walking

Gustav Mahler, who insisted his wife Alma walk with him daily, sometimes as long as five hours


Tchaikovsky walked every morning for 45 minutes and took another walk for 2 hours in the afternoon

Charles Darwin took three walks a day

Woody Allen stopped walking around New York because people recognized him, now he often paces on his terrace 

Composer Erik Satie walked from his suburban Parisian home to Montmarte daily,  a 6 mile walk.  He often missed the train home and walked back at night

“I have walked myself into my best thoughts.” Kierkegaard

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” Henry David Thoreau

“Walking is the best exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” Thomas Jefferson

“Now, shall I walk or shall I ride? ‘Ride’ said Pleasure. ‘Walk’ said Joy.” W.H. Davies

“If you seek creative ideas go walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.” Raymond I. Myers

“If I could not walk far and fast, I think I would just explode and perish.” Charles Dickens

“I would walk along the quais when I had finished work or when I was trying to think something out. It was easier to think if I was walking.” Ernest Hemingway


So, get up – take a walk!!!!


Do you have a favorite walk or hike? Do you have any walking rituals?  Can you tell a difference in the way your mind works after or during a walk?



  1. Ruth Schowalter

    This was very entertaining and affirming! I’m a walking creative too! Love all of the quotations!

  2. Harmony Harrison

    Several of my favorite books on writing and creativity advocate walks, too. I’ve always wondered if walking on a treadmill sparks the same creativity as walking outdoors. Being in a rainy climate, sometimes the treadmill is the only option. Any thoughts on that?

  3. vickiemartin Post author

    interestingly – the research shows it doesn’t matter where you walk – people’s creativity still was improved by walking on a treadmill even when facing a blank wall – i think that surprised the scientists.

  4. vickiemartin Post author

    i understand having a destination – I’m trying to get better at walking and observing deeper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *