Could walking make you a better writer?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I hope to boast this badge soon!
At the start of the year I announced on this blog, on all my social media channels and even on WBHM 90.3 FM that I plan to exercise every day for 365 days. I haven't missed a day yet. But in May I started to get a bit bored. Exercising daily was no longer difficult because it had become a regular part of my day, as normal and as necessary as taking a shower or brushing my teeth.

I needed a new challenge and I found what I needed in GirlTrek.

GirlTrek is a national nonprofit organization striving to inspire black women and girls to live healthy lives simply by walking. GirlTrek launched three years ago and through social media campaigns has grown to include over 20,000 women who are lacing up and logging their walks online. (Last year I wrote a story for WBHM on the Birmingham chapter of GirlTrek. You can read it here.) 

GirlTrek recently challenged participants to walk 100 miles in the month of June. I knew taking on this challenge would keep me motivated for the rest of this month. I've been going for a 3 to 6-mile walk/run most days of the week. And if I do walk/run 100 miles this month I'm going to reward myself with some GirlTrek gear!

I recently learned, however, that this challenge could make me a better writer too.

Earlier this month USA Today reported that a new study from researchers at Stanford University suggests that taking a walk could boost creativity.


"Walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goal of increasing creativity," write authors Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz in their paper, published in this month's Journal of Experimental Psychology.
To test the influence of walking on creative thinking, Oppezzo and Schwartz divided study participants into four groups: Those who walked then sat; those who sat then walked; those who only sat; and those who walked indoors vs. outdoors. Participants were given two different tests, both widely accepted by the psychological community as valid measures of various aspects of creativity: Guilford's Alternate Uses test, or GAU (people were asked to come up with alternate uses for everyday objects in a short period of time), and the Compound Remote Association test, or CRA (people were given three unrelated words and asked to come up with a fourth word that connects with all of them. For example, upon hearing "cottage, Swiss and cake," a correct response would be "cheese.").
Overall, Oppezzo and Schwartz found, walking enhanced the performance on these creative tests, particularly the GAU: 81% of participants showed an improvement in test scores while taking a walk, regardless of whether they sat before or after. The researchers also noted that the effects of walking lingered: Even after returning to their seats, people who had taken a stroll showed a residual boost in test scores. "When there is a premium on generating new ideas in the workday, it should be beneficial to incorporate walks," they wrote.

I've blogged before about how GirlTrek helped me approach my writing goals in a new way. When I wanted to run my second half-marathon but my body objected to the high impact training I decided I would walk the 13.1 miles instead. This new approach to one of my fitness goals urged me to think outside the box about my creative aspirations as well. 

I've also blogged about how completing challenging fitness pursuits can encourage a person in her writing pursuits as wellIf you can finish that marathon, you can finish writing that book. If you can stick with that Insanity DVD for 60 days, you can stick with your blog. If you can bench press all that weight, you can press send on that pitch letter to your favorite magazine. 

But now this study makes the connection between my writing and my workouts even stronger. 

So talk a walk, writers. Of course, you should check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, but even as little as 10 or 15 minutes a day, two or three days a week can be a good start. If you need motivation to get started join a group like GirlTrek. 

Now excuse me I need to go walking.


  1. I believe the more you write the better you get (or should). But I also believe that walking can make a writer out of anyone. I"m a walker and I usually walk alone. It's my quiet time to think and process thoughts. I come up with a flood of topics for my blog during these walks.

    1. I get a lot of ideas while walking too! I love it!

  2. in high traffic cheap christian louboutin commercial street, trade centers, but also discount nike jordans in the bar Christian Louboutin Bois Dore street, night market street, Bags Louis Vuitton street snack, as long christian louboutin shoes as people are not afraid of no business.The guests selected pattern Discount LV Handbags template pattern set Christian Louboutin Daffodile in place to be, and evenly Cheap Louis Vuitton Handbags coated with the magic potion, remove the template, to be air shop tattoo pigment pattern through the needle into the skin, the skin discount christian louboutin has some damage, you need to use a laser to remove the handle. Temporary tattoo art avoids cheap nike jordan shoes this problem, you can always use the magic potion to Cheap LV Handbags change or eliminate according to personal preference. Gift Discount Louis Vuitton to fashion, novelty students, young friends, fashion people cheap jordans and people who christian louboutin remise 50% have christian louboutin scars or birthmarks, wholesale jordan shoes tattoos can be covered.