Does Running Make You More Creative?

Posted on April 14 2016

Since Miles and Pace is a sister company of A7D Creative Group, creativity is at the core of everything we do. Whether it’s writing, designing or printing, thinking of new and interesting ideas is critical to keeping brand strategies fresh. We’ve noticed that ours runs can be a time of brainstorming, that we come back from runs feeling refreshed and inspired. Many new ideas have struck while we’re clocking miles which had us thinking: is there a correlation between running and creativity?

After doing some research, we found that many other runners have found the same creative benefits while clocking miles. Writers such as Louisa May Alcott, Haruki Murakami, Joyce Carol Oates, Don DeLillo, Benjamin Cheever, Nicolas Kristof, Mona Simpson, and Susan Orlean have praised running as a critical aspect of their creative process. Philosopher Henry David Thoreau has been quoted to say “the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow”.

There a few different ideas of why this occurs. Newsweek found that after just 30 minutes of an aerobic exercise such as running, every dimension of cognition improves. Creativity in the brain can be boosted for at least two hours after the workout. That means no excuses for missing your training miles because you’re stumped with a project at work- getting that run in can give you the cognitive boost to creatively approach it.  

Another interpretation suggests that perhaps in addition to the enhanced mental capacity of aerobic exercise, the introspective time of running alone can help boost creativity.  Running is a solitary past time, which creates a space to think. Since you’re trying to distract yourself from how exhausted your body is, your mind muses over different things, which can help your creative flow.

Maybe your new ideas are due to being surrounded by new things and that jogs a creative outlet for you. Whatever it may be, if you’re stumped on a work project or have writer’s block, lace up your running shoes and hit a few miles- who knows what new ideas you’ll generate in the process?