I’ve long been interested in the relationship between walking and creative thinking. I devoted a chapter of The Distraction Addiction to walking and restorative activities, particularly Charles Darwin’s habit of walking on the Sandwalk, a path that he had built on the edge of his property and rather tellingly called his “thinking path.”
My main interest has been in how walking illustrates ideas about embodied cognition, and how exposure to restorative environments can combat brain fatigue.
Now, Stanford Ph.D. Marily Oppezzo and education professor Daniel Schwartz have a new study that teases out the relative importance of the physical act of walking, versus walking somewhere restorative.
Oppezzo and Schwartz had two groups walk outdoors or walk on treadmills, and a second group sit at desks or get wheeled around camps.
They then gave everyone a divergent thinking test (a standard measure of creative ability).