You know the feeling: You're in the middle of a good sweat sesh, in the zone, playlist on point, and you honestly feel invincible. The feel-good endorphins you get from an amazing workout are unbeatable, and can make you feel incredible and inspired AF for days. But does exercise make you more creative? Or is it just a fleeting runner's high that has nothing to do with all those innovative ideas that have been popping into your head all week?
According to a 2013 study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, regular exercise is associated with improved convergent and divergent thinking, the latter of which is key when it comes to your ability to be creative. The study revealed that people who adapt a consistent fitness routine perform better on creativity tests than people living more sedentary, non-active lifestyles.
Elite Daily spoke with yoga instructor Alexa Ibarra to see how squeezing in a quality workout gets her creative juices flowing. She tells us,
Oh my gosh, weirdly enough, as you ask me, I'm carving a pumpkin. Creativity never ends.
Halloween vibes, amirite?
I love a good workout. Being a yogi and an avid lover of all fluid movements, I find myself entranced in certain sequences.
Since I know I can’t practice all day, it leads me to be creative in other ways. [Movement has] expanded my mind fully.
Ibarra says she always tells her students to “find the comfort in the uncomfortability,” and that she tries to live by her own words in her everyday activities, which helps her feel passionate about trying new things.
She tells Elite Daily,
My next big creative move is to learn to play piano. My love for music is [so intense] and has only grown with my practice.
Yoga has shifted my mind to do more, be my best self, try things, fall down, get up, and just be!
I don't know about you, but just learning about how movement inspires Ibarra's creativity makes me want to get up and get my body moving.
If you feel the same way, here are five workouts that will wake up your body and brain, and might just make you feel like the next Picasso.
Yoga is a form of exercise that works both the body and the mind, allowing you to open yourself up to creative inspiration through breath, movement, and energy.
According to yoga instructor Randi Greene, the practice teaches you to clear the mind of unwanted chatter and noise that isn't serving you, and in return, makes room for new thoughts and ideas that are anchored to the present.
Greene tells Elite Daily,
I’ve found that in creating my own workouts, flows, and exercise programs, I’m not only tapping into my creativeness on my mat, I’m also channeling that creativity in other areas of my life.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT workouts combine resistance and endurance training, and are proven to boost memory and cognition, which in turn improves creativity.
According to The Bulletproof Blog, this type of exercise also boosts something called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which promotes the growth of new cells in the brain and speeds up the learning process.
Guys, imagine what else Einstein could have accomplished in his life if he'd done a little HIIT training every now and then.
That runner's high can seriously do magical things for your body, and all you have to do to earn it is lace up your sneakers and pound the pavement.
Running is a great, natural way to help reduce feelings of stress and boost your mood when you're feeling kind of sh*tty, which definitely helps with both creativity and productivity.
Plus, the major stress relief you feel after a good run can help destroy feelings of self-doubt, and make you appreciate new, passionate ideas that come your way and support your own natural sense of creativity.
Don't believe me? According to SELF, Ariana Grande came up with the idea for her "Side to Side" video on the treadmill, and she apparently gets most of her creative ideas when she's crushing some cardio.
Lifting weights isn't just picking things up and putting them down — that sh*t requires some major brain power.
According to The New York Times, weight-lifting strengthens the heart and improves blood flow to the brain, which results in an improved ability to think creatively.
Plus, you're using lots of brain power to focus on proper form and technique, which sharpens your brain and improves your ability to think and problem-solve when you're working in other creative areas.
Walking may seem casual and monotonous to some, but a Stanford study says that a casual stroll can significantly improve your creative thinking. The research basically confirmed that people are spot-on when they say they do their best thinking when walking.
So, lace up your shoes, grab a friend or a set of headphones, and feel the creative juices flow, baby.