Regular exercise has a positive effect on your creativity and not just your waistline. We live in a society where we are constantly being bombarded with reminders that the majority of the population is over weight, unhealthy and close to death on many levels! Scare tactics I know but this approach is being regularly used by the government and ad campaigns up and down the Country, with even Coca-Cola jumping on the bandwagon over in the States. But, I do feel a crucial effect of exercise is being overlooked, the positive mental effects it has on your brain and creativity which Dr John Ratey outlines in his book “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain”:
“Exercise isn’t just about physical health and appearance. It also has a profound effect on your brain chemistry, physiology, and neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to literally rewire itself). It affects not only your ability to think, create, and solve, but your mood and ability to lean into uncertainty, risk, judgment, and anxiety in a substantial and measurable way”
Of course, many of the traits that Dr. Ratey has explained are widely used within the creative industries, especially when embracing risk when trying something new or pushing your own skills forward.
Here at Fiasco Design we are by no means muscle merry gym addicts that chest pump each other every time we walk into the studio, but we all entertain regular exercise in some way. Ben is in serious training mode in preparation for the Greater Manchester marathon, Tom cycles nearly 12 miles everyday and I like to practice Muay Thai. When I exercise I personally feel it helps me clear my mind, which creates more room for my creative thoughts. Regular exercise decreases stress hormones such as Cortisol and increases endorphins in the brain. As I’m sure you’ve heard endorphins are the body’s natural ‘feel good chemicals’, and when these chemicals are released your mood is boosted naturally helping dissolve stress and anxiety. Anxiety has now been scientifically proven to have a negative effect on your creativity due to it encompassing the same front lobe of your brain where creativity thrives. Large-scale studies of twins also confirm this, when raising your heart rate above the norm 2-3 times per week it significantly reduces the signs of anxiety.
Over the past few years combining my passion for design with regularly exercise has become an unlikely partnership, but I have to be honest it’s only now through thorough research I can truly understand why. I see exercise as a starting point in my journey for creativity and I definitely believe it to be a very useful tool. I’m not saying put down that lovely savoury sausage roll at lunch but just get that heart rate up once in a while, I promise you it will only have a positive effect!
If you have any useful tips to help boost creativity we would love to here them. Also, if you would like to support Ben and The Daisy Garland Charity please visit here.