A run pays multiple benefits to runners in the form of endorphins, physical transformation and a connection to a community, among other things. But, in addition to physical plusses, did you know running is good for the brain? It’s the perfect time to focus and get creative juices flowing.
We’re inviting runners everywhere to celebrate this fact by participating in Idea Runs, kicking off at SXSW this year. Going out for a run has the power to change the course of your day–even your life. By going for a run to clear your mind, you can generate creative ideas and get inspired.
According to Dr. Danielle Ransom, “Exercise/running is one of the best things we can do to minimize the impact of stress on the brain, strengthen the mind-body connection and promote healthy brain function. It helps the brain take in new information, digest it, recall it later and put the pieces together in new and inventive ways.”
In other words, running helps your brain grow new cells, which directly contributes to generating creative ideas, all while receiving the traditional benefits of exercise for your body. Below, find a few tips from Dr. Ransom to enhance creativity on your next run:
1. Mix up your run in ways that keeps your brain guessing.
Incorporate movements that demand coordination, rhythm and strategic thinking (e.g. running trails or exploring a new route).
2. Pay attention to your breathing, trying to keep each breath long and slow.
Breathe in for 5 counts, out for 5 counts, as your pace allows.
3. Boost overall benefits with daily meditation.
Here’s one final pro tip: Rise and shine to reap the creative benefits of your run! Research shows that aerobic activity at the beginning of the day enhances imaginative thinking and productivity.
Afterwards, tell us how it goes and report back using #Run4Ideas. If you’re in Austin at SXSW Interactive , join us for special Idea Runs hosted by leaders in the digital, marketing, media and nonprofit fields. Register to run with us here. Run happy!
Dr. Ransom is an Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Division of Neuropsychology at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine. She is an avid yogi, runner and former varsity collegiate athlete who is fascinated by the brain’s amazing resilience under a range of circumstances, from daily life to extreme duress.