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TN50#39, Walk Don’t Run to Your Next Problem Solved, 26 September 2021

Hi Team,

Happy Monday and welcome to The Next 50 #39.

Recently I mentioned taking a walk after dinner to help lower your blood sugar without the need for much insulin, TN50#31.  This is a nice example of a little MOVE supporting your EAT and your SLEEP.

What if I told you that a walk is also a great technique when you need to problem solve or just improve creativity?   That’s right a walk can even improve your ability to THINK.

Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness reference this in their book, Peak Performance, they base their comments on a research report titled, Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking

From, Peak Performance, “At first researchers suspected that increased blood flow to the brain was the culprit behind the walks’ benefits.  However, it appears that benefits might also stem from the interplay between walking and attention.  Since walking requires just enough coordination to occupy the part of our brain responsible for effortful thinking, it ever so slightly distracts our conscious mind.  As a result, when walking, it’s easier to tap into our creative engine, our subconscious.  This explains why walking tends to be more effective at fostering creativity than other movements that require greater focus and coordination, like dancing or lifting weights.  Walking occupies us just enough to help us stop thinking about whatever it is we were working on, but not too much as to prevent mind-wandering.  It’s the perfect gateway into the subconscious mind and for stimulating creative insight that can help us overcome mental gridlock.” (pg. 97).

Another key takeaway is that the walks can be very short, in some cases the study participants took a brief 6-minute walk outside and had dramatically higher scores for creativity than the participants who didn’t walk at all.  So brief walks through out the work day should be a no-brainer, and back to that walk after dinner; not only can it help you move glucose into muscle, lowering your blood sugar, it can also clear some of the mental clutter from your brain.  This sure sound like another positive effect on SLEEP to me!

This week a large portion of my First Principles Performance Family will be meeting me in Arizona.  On Wednesday, we’ll be climbing Humphrey’s Point, just north of Flagstaff, AZ, later in the week we will cross the Grand Canyon starting on the North Rim and finishing on the South Rim.  With over 20-hours of walking scheduled we all should be able to work through a lot of mental clutter as well as get really creative!  I’ll let you know all about my amazing thought work or at least share a couple amazing pictures next week in TN50#40.

Have a good one, Alex

2022 Murph Count: 15