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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 04-29-14, 02:15 AM   #1
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Another reason for active transportation

Stanford study finds the walking helps you be creative.

Stanford study finds walking improves creativity
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Old 04-29-14, 04:18 AM   #2
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Stanford study finds the walking helps you be creative.
Not surprised.
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Old 04-29-14, 05:38 AM   #3
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Artists, scientists and other creative people have been saying that for thousands of years, so I'm not surprised by the findings.

Another question is whether bicycling also increases creative thinking. Personally, my guess is that it doesn't.
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Old 04-29-14, 05:42 AM   #4
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Oddly, many of the most creative people in the arts in particular were reprobates -- drunks who chased after *****s (that is, ladies of the night) who were their inspiration.
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Old 04-29-14, 05:51 AM   #5
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Another question is whether bicycling also increases creative thinking. Personally, my guess is that it doesn't.
Of course it does ... do you not think when you ride?

One of the things I love about long, long rides is the chance to work through ideas to solve problems ... homework, work-related, at home. I've mentally written research papers, created programs to automate work, and have redecorated the house. I've also mentally designed new houses, created wardrobes, and decided on my next photography project.

On that last thing, cycling is great for taking me places and getting me to look at things in different ways ... and that is an inspiration for photography.


Just about any exercise will inspire creativity.
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Old 04-29-14, 09:05 AM   #6
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Artists, scientists and other creative people have been saying that for thousands of years, so I'm not surprised by the findings.

Another question is whether bicycling also increases creative thinking. Personally, my guess is that it doesn't.
From my experience, I would say you are right. There are just too many distractions that counter balance any benefit that you get from the exercise. When I really need to think, I walk. I think that the benefit of walking for creativity is the increased blood flow to the brain, and the centering effect of walking, as well as getting into new surroundings while being able to move mostly on autopilot.
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Old 04-29-14, 09:15 AM   #7
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I've had some great breakthroughs while riding, but I think I've gotten far more when mindlessly using an elliptical machine at the gym or on the trainer (although less on the trainer since I really tend to push myself there). Any monotonous task that keeps your body busy and doesn't take any conscious thought is great for problem solving. It's also good to do since it gets all that out of your head in the daytime instead of waking up at 2am with your mind racing to finally come up with a brilliant solution to some project at work.
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Old 04-29-14, 09:50 AM   #8
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When you ride your bike or when you walk, you feel somehow safe and less worried with the dangers around you, having more time to freely think, and that's where innovation and creativity appears


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Old 04-29-14, 09:12 PM   #9
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I wrote - in my head, at least - a large part of my dissertation while riding between Denver and Boulder.

The environment probably matters, though. I'm not sure that heavy-duty urban riding is really conducive to deep thinking and problem solving. A nice MUP, state highway, or quiet country road - that's a different story!
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Old 04-29-14, 09:18 PM   #10
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Another kind of relativity:

"I went out bicycling one afternoon, and suddenly, as I was riding along a country road, I realised that I no longer loved Alys."

Bertrand Russell, 1901
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Old 04-29-14, 10:34 PM   #11
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Another kind of relativity:

"I went out bicycling one afternoon, and suddenly, as I was riding along a country road, I realised that I no longer loved Alys."

Bertrand Russell, 1901
That's a great quotation! I was concerned about you when I heard there were tornados near Little Rock. You came through ok?
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Old 04-29-14, 10:52 PM   #12
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That's a great quotation! I was concerned about you when I heard there were tornados near Little Rock. You came through ok?
Yes, the tornado passed by about 10 miles to the west of me.
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Old 04-30-14, 01:38 AM   #13
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Yes, the tornado passed by about 10 miles to the west of me.
Too close!

I once rode home at night and there was a huge tree lying across one of the main streets of Lansing. I later found out that a tornado had passed through there about 10 minutes earlier. I had waited at work for the wind to die down or I would have been there when it struck.
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Old 04-30-14, 02:28 AM   #14
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From my experience, I would say you are right. There are just too many distractions that counter balance any benefit that you get from the exercise. When I really need to think, I walk. I think that the benefit of walking for creativity is the increased blood flow to the brain, and the centering effect of walking, as well as getting into new surroundings while being able to move mostly on autopilot.
Creativity is one of the (many) reasons I started cycling again regularly. At least in my experience, my most creative insights come about when I let things stew around in my subconscious while consciously being focused on something else. It's an activity that mostly involves doing the same thing over and over with random distractions; it's both always the same (just move your feet quickly in a circle) and always different. In a way it's boring enough that it's not taxing my brain, but stimulating enough that I don't zone out; so in my case I'd say the distractions are a fundamental part of the benefit.
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Old 04-30-14, 04:17 AM   #15
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I never really analyzed it, but for me cycling just doesn't help my thinking the way walking does. Maybe it's just because I tend to ride fast but walk slow. Anyhoo, it will be interesting to discover what the researchers learn in the future.
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Old 04-30-14, 06:03 AM   #16
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I can see why the creativity might not be stimulated if you cycle in the city or other heavily trafficked area where you've got to concentrate on the traffic, people etc. And that's partly why I don't like cycling in the city ... too much going on, not enough down time where I can just think.

But when you get out onto a lonely country road in the middle of nowhere (my favourite place to cycle), all you've got to entertain yourself are your thoughts and your imagination.

When I'm on a long ride, my thought process go something like this ...

At first, I just think random thoughts about what I've experienced during the week. Some of those thoughts I can think about for a moment or two, and I've dealt with them.

But some of those thoughts rise to the surface and I need to deal with them. They might be a problem I need to solve at work, or maybe I need to think through an approach to a research paper, or some modification to my website, or whatever. And then I spend time working through whatever the issue is. I usually think of one approach, and then something completely different, and maybe even a third or fourth idea. That process can take quite a while. I can do a whole century or 200K and stay on this level of thinking.

If I have time to move onto the next phase, that's the fun phase. I'll cycle past an old house and create a story about the people who lived there. I should write these stories down sometimes. I'll cycle past a barn, and redesign it into a house. I'll cycle past a piece of land with a great view and design a house that will take advantage of the view. I can entertain myself for hours with stuff like that.


The same sort of thing can happen when I'm wallking/running on a treadmill, in spinning class, on a walk, etc. ... only there's usually not enough time to get much past the first phase. I'd have to be on a really long walk to get really creative.
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Old 04-30-14, 09:59 AM   #17
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I can see why the creativity might not be stimulated if you cycle in the city or other heavily trafficked area where you've got to concentrate on the traffic, people etc. And that's partly why I don't like cycling in the city ... too much going on, not enough down time where I can just think.
It's not just that you get some free thinking time while exercising (although I agree, that can be a great benefit) - there's a lot more going on. Exercise stimulates neuronal branching and connections, releases endorphins that enhance well-being, lowers levels of harmful stress hormones and probably other toxins, promotes more complete restful sleep that enhances daytime alertness and brain health, and stimulates the learning areas in the brain. The challenges of paying attention to multiple stimuli while cycling in the city may not allow you to work on your other ideas at that moment, but they do help tune up your brain for thinking about stuff later.
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Old 04-30-14, 10:19 AM   #18
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But when you get out onto a lonely country road in the middle of nowhere (my favourite place to cycle), all you've got to entertain yourself are your thoughts and your imagination.
Or a portable audio player. I have listened to hundreds of audio books while cycling. First with cassettes on a Walkman, then on CDs with a Discman, and for the last 5 or 6 years on an MP3 player. All books have been free from several libraries that I can borrow or download the appropriate media. Occasionally for a change of pace, I listen to my favorite music (R&B and soul) downloaded years ago for free from the Internet and saved on my computer. Easy to burn to CD's or copy to mp3 player.

Works for cycling in the city too. Or when driving long distances.
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Old 04-30-14, 11:04 AM   #19
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Here are some scholarly links on the brain health effects of exercise.

http://resulb.ulb.ac.be/facs/ism/docs/behaviorBDNF.pdf
"Plasticity" is a fancy word for learning, and improving the capacity to learn

The Acute Effects of a Single Bout of Moder... [J Clin Diagn Res. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

"Improvement in executive functions has also been reported during cycling at 70% of Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) across young and older age groups."
"A single bout of moderate intensity aerobic exercise for as less [sic]as 30 minutes can improve some aspects of cognition, most prominently for memory, reasoning and planning and can shorten the time taken to complete the tests. " (Even articles in the US national science library can have grammatical errors)

Voluntary exercise increases axonal... [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004] - PubMed - NCBI Exercise stimulates nervous system recovery from injury (outside the brain, in this case).

Last edited by cooker; 04-30-14 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 04-30-14, 11:20 AM   #20
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Of course it does ... do you not think when you ride?

One of the things I love about long, long rides is the chance to work through ideas to solve problems ... homework, work-related, at home. I've mentally written research papers, created programs to automate work, and have redecorated the house. I've also mentally designed new houses, created wardrobes, and decided on my next photography project.

On that last thing, cycling is great for taking me places and getting me to look at things in different ways ... and that is an inspiration for photography.


Just about any exercise will inspire creativity.
+1
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Old 04-30-14, 11:24 AM   #21
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Typically cycling for me is a way to eliminate thought. I'm thinking to much of the time at work, and I study languages and math during my freetime. All I want out of a ride is an endorphin rush and anywhere from 500 to a few thousand kilo-calories burned.
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Old 04-30-14, 03:25 PM   #22
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Here are some scholarly links on the brain health effects of exercise.

http://resulb.ulb.ac.be/facs/ism/docs/behaviorBDNF.pdf
"Plasticity" is a fancy word for learning, and improving the capacity to learn

The Acute Effects of a Single Bout of Moder... [J Clin Diagn Res. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

"Improvement in executive functions has also been reported during cycling at 70% of Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) across young and older age groups."
"A single bout of moderate intensity aerobic exercise for as less [sic]as 30 minutes can improve some aspects of cognition, most prominently for memory, reasoning and planning and can shorten the time taken to complete the tests. " (Even articles in the US national science library can have grammatical errors)

Voluntary exercise increases axonal... [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004] - PubMed - NCBI Exercise stimulates nervous system recovery from injury (outside the brain, in this case).
Good review. I can add that regular exercise in earlier years may also offer some protection against dementia and simple forgetfulness in old age. And now the OP study shows the additional benefit of (specifically) walking in one narrowly defined type of thinking.
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Old 04-30-14, 05:20 PM   #23
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Booze, drugs and women can also make man very creative. Isn't that what gives many rockers inspiration to write great songs ??
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Old 04-30-14, 11:37 PM   #24
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Booze, drugs and women can also make man very creative. Isn't that what gives many rockers inspiration to write great songs ??
A lot of famous authors were heavy drinkers also. Hemingway, Cheever, Fitzgerald, and Joyce come to mind, but there were many others. However, chronic use of alcohol is not known to be good for the brain. Bicycling is good for the brain, unless you fall on your head.
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Old 05-01-14, 06:45 AM   #25
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Stanford study finds the walking helps you be creative.

Stanford study finds walking improves creativity
This article popped up on my BBC feed this morning BBC News - The slow death of purposeless walking

I suspect the reason we are losing the "art" of walking is due to overcommitment and lack of safe places to walk. I know it is no longer pleasant nor safe to walk along the country roads around here.

Aaron
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