Move more to think better

An excellent post by Ryan Holiday on the importance of walking for idea generation.

There is evidence that memory and the mind function differently on the move. The late Seth Roberts used to practice flashcards for languages he was learning while on the treadmill because he found that while each activity was boring by itself, doing them simultaneously allowed him to do both better. A study at New Mexico Highlands University has found that the force from our footsteps can increase the supply of blood to the brain. Researchers at Stanford have found that walkers performer better on tests that measure “creative divergent thinking” during and after their walks. And a 20 year study found that walking five miles a week protects the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Me, I don't walk very much, except when traveling. But I jog. Every morning. I have my dog and my ipod and listen to interesting podcasts. And most mornings, I have to stop the dog four or five times to write down ideas (I compose a quick email to myself that sits in the outbox until I get back to wifi territory). Ideas just come out of nowhere. One of them, just a few days ago, was this: I'm a writer who needs to push her body to write. Which is true; I'm miserable (and write accordingly) when I don't train. It's like my blood stopped moving and my brain is all stultified. But when I've had a chance to get my heart rate up, things appear so much more clearly.

Not everybody needs to train as hard as I do to get the benefits of exercise for the body and mind. But most people can - and should - walk every day.

What a soulmate is

Is there an emoji for "I quit"?