Creativity and Exercise: the two go hand in hand

Being a creative person is a talent for some, meaning it is a gift, an ability that is not “learned”…. That kind of creativity can be developed and the gift grown into something more – but creativity comes in many forms. A person who may not have a gift for any arts (painting, sculpture, music, writing etc) but maybe in business has to be creative when searching for new ways to have success in their field of work or parenting or whatever situation you find you need to exercise creative problem solving…. Either way, whether the talent is one you are born with or need to develop for other reasons, exercise is an incredible tool, believe it or not. Creativity and exercise go hand-in-hand.

So now what?

This is the easy part, or at least it was for me. I have not always been a “gym” type. There has never been a time that I have liked sweaty equipment and sweaty people all around me. There has never been a time that I have liked how ugly I felt in comparison to those gorgeous women who look like they have never let a bite of ice cream cross over their perfect lips ( I am not that person… I LOVE ice cream, just sayin….) or the guys that either were “all that” or just thought they were who literally always looked right through me as if I did not exist. I did not mind that so much as I was pretty quiet and kept to myself and did not need to date, just did not like how absolutely hideous I felt every time I put effort in to look and feel better only to be looked through, literally… I quit going to the gym and opted for a walk on a trail and found that to be one of my favorite things to do.

Then…… a few years ago my sister-in-law wanted me to start working out with her a few days a week. It was a good chance for us to spend time together, they had daycare so I could leave my daughter there and really get a good, solid hour in. Prior to that I would walk/jog on the trail near my house (which was great, but I was not always motivated or would have my kids and it just was not possible or the weather was not great and kids did not want to go…. blah, blah, blah….there was always a reason that I could not go and, like I said before I believe it’s good to have a couple things you enjoy)…. anyway, I started meeting her there a few days a week and during this time an instructor there asked us if we wanted to try out her class two days a week. I had taken classes with her 10 years or so before (the last time I had been there, embarrassingly… just about the time I had my first child). Anyway, a couple weeks in, after kettle bells and different circuit routines we began boxing…. OH MY GOODNESS! I fell in love with it right away. I have been taking classes with her ever since.

My point: try new things. For me, boxing is by far my favorite. But I enjoy walks, hiking, jogging, boxing and kettle bells – so that gives me variety when I need it…. But, boxing is my go-to favorite – I take the kids with me – they box too and when they don’t want to box it’s OK, there is plenty for them to do when I am boxing – I like a classroom setting with a few other people (right now I box with two or three others in the class and it’s perfect!) – I feel motivated to be there and having an instructor helps me to stay accountable… for many reasons (besides boxing being freakin awesome!) it is a class I can and do stick with. So, try new things… swimming, aerobics, boxing, spinning, kettle bells, jogging, bicycling… classes and on your own – try different things until you find what you love.

That is the key: do something that you look forward to doing = sticking with it long term

If you are unsure what to do, try looking here:Exercise ideas

when, where, how….

For me, starting my day with exercise is best. Some work out after work or on a lunch break… find the time of day that you feel motivated. Doing that will help ensure that it becomes a life-long habit. Choose what you like, where you want to go and then you are set……… How to make that happen? Be determined. At some point it will become habit and then you will find you truly enjoy it! Here are some tips from womens health magazine: workouts

How will it help my creativity?

There was a period in my career I was signed with an agent. It was both the best and the worst experience. I had to create an average of two paintings per week to keep up with what was required of me. This meant my creativity was on demand – I did not have room for creative block… I had to be “on” all the time, feel like painting or not. I drove my work 7 hours to southern California once every 6-8 weeks.

my art at a galleryPart of that time I had an easy time and could do a painting every two days – that is unheard-of for me and the way I work. Typically, a week to do a painting while working full time is normal. My work is abstract, done with many layers of mixed media (acrylic, ink, collage, pastel, spray paint etc). It is time-consuming and involves a lot of me and my brain power as well as a lot of time watching paint dry so to do that much in a week amazed me. Even while I was in the middle of It I did not know how I was accomplishing it all and I later realized how much a little exercise per day helped me.

At some point in the middle of it all I ended up going through a divorce. I was depressed and I quit working out the way I had been. I did not eat much, and when I did it was more along the lines of kid food (AKA, not super healthy) and I tried to paint but couldn’t. I lost my contract with the agent.

The lack of creativity during that time was most certainly the stress I was under…. but when that season was over I had gotten out of the habit of working out. From my time of painting so much I had gotten used to a certain production level – I could not reach that… try as I did, the quality of the work went down as did the quantity. Something had changed but it took me a while to figure it out.

Once I got back into the gym and jogging again on a regular basis, the ideas began to flow once more. I had entire series done in my head while in class or out on the jogging trail… or whatever I happened to be doing.

Studies?

They are out there. I could write an article just on those….. However, for me personally, I go by my own experience… I mean, I don’t know who is doing these studies… And while they do know what they are talking about I am sure – my own personal experience and the results within my own life are proof enough for me to say that exercise is absolutely necessary for a creative mind.

If you are a mom needing some creative ways to run your family… exercise. Not only will it give you some “you” time, which every momma needs, but you will find that while you are out on a nice run (or brisk walk) in the crisp morning air that your mind will begin to come alive with the ideas even as you work out… if running is not your thing — like me, it’s boxing – then do what you love and the ideas will certainly begin to flow. Don’t believe me? Try it. Just having time to clear your mind of all the “things” of previous days, or what you have to do in a day will help you whether or not you need to have some creative thinking begin to happen.

When I am in the middle of my work day and run into a problem with a particular painting I will often take a work break and go out for a short walk on my trail. The fresh air and little time away from what I am doing is very helpful. When I return I have not only gotten an extra 15 minutes of exercise in and my blood flowing but I will often have the solution in my mind before I return. When I don’t take the time for a little walk I can spend the rest of the day trying to figure it out but inevitably will not solve a darn thing. Even taking a break to make lunch or look through the mail won’t do the trick. Its exercise, every time…. In fact, I truly believe it is so helpful that I think businesses should have walk breaks for employees. The exercise helps my mood, creativity and problem solving skills in as little as 15 minutes.

Conclusion

I believe in sharing my own experiences as tools to not only share who I am but having lived it (whatever “it” is) I know the results and can speak firmly and knowledgeably and will be able to help others with what I have learned. Exercise and creativity to hand-in-hand and whatever it is you do, be it raising a family as a stay-at-home parent to a business owner looking for creative ways to make money to an artist like I am, being creative starts with taking care of all of you and ends that way too…

Exercise helps your brain and your body which is never a bad thing….

I invite you to leave comments… what do you do to exercise and take care of yourself and boost your creativity?

Also, I have found some things you can get to do at home workouts which are posted below.

At $21.99 this is a budget friendly, easy to store option in which you can do many exercises with then put away and not have the need for a dedicated work out room.

 

 

resistance bands

I use these resistance bands, usually for warm up in the classes I attend, but again, these are items you can use anytime and almost anywhere. The cost is only $9.98 and these bands are easily stored away which makes it an easy thing to have and use if working out at home is what works best for you.

 

folding bikeThis folding bike is $129.82 on Amazon. Yes, you need a little more storage space for this one, but the price is right and if you can dedicate a closet to store your exercise equipment in this is still a good option for the work out at home person.

 

rowing machine

For me, personally the stationary bike is not what motivates me, but I like rowing machines. This one, priced at $111.99 is great to set up in front of your TV so you can exercise and watch your favorite show at the same time! This takes up some room so you have to either have a space for equipment or a closet to store it in but rowing is a good way to get some movement in without ever having to leave your house!

kayak

like being outside best? this kayak, priced at $287.22 is a great work out and fun besides… Granted, unless you live at the lake it is not likely to be a daily thing, but if you have means to transport this 10′ beauty and being outdoors is your thing, then a weekend camping trip with some kayaking adventures may be in order. Personally, when not boxing being outside hiking, kayaking or just a walk is exactly what I want to be doing!

kayak roof rack

$44.95 for a roof rack will make transporting your new kayak wherever you want to go much easier!

 

One of the other outdoor activities to keep me in tip-top creative form is running, jogging, hiking or just walking…. just being outside moving, whatever your choice activity is good for you. I will most often walk over running because my kids are usually with me, but either way I have found that Reebok shoes make my feet happy. I go through a few pairs a year as I wear them daily for boxing and all outdoor exercising… here are a few I liked – both for men and women. Prices on each vary, but click on the photo to see prices and size availability. If know your size you can easily order online. I have not gone into a store to try on running shoes in years. I know the Reebok brand so know what size fits me best and I have never had issues with them!

running shoes running shoes running shoes running shoes

To keep from overloading you… these are a couple options – but there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of options out there. The two images on the left are exactly what I buy and I find them comfortable for me to both run and box in – for me it is important to be able to use the same shoe for both. I also buy them in a half size smaller than I wear in other shoes. They tend to stretch just a little and when I am warming up I find that it’s way easier for me when my feet do not slide out of my shoes! I hope you enjoy your experiences boosting your creative energy through exercise, I know I do!

 

4 thoughts on “Creativity and Exercise: the two go hand in hand

  1. Hi, Corey. I have not exercised for a long time. When I read your post, I guess I need to get myself put in some time for exercise. I have been stuck on same routine and realised that I have forgotten what creativity really is. It is good that you pointed out that they come hand in hand as I used to exercise long time ago and I used to have so many ideas. Guess I need to get my feet running and mind refreshed again. Great article!

    1. Thank you for reading and I am so glad I could be an inspiration. I have, at many times in my life,  been on and off with my exercise routine but reflecting back on my life I can really see what exercise has done for my creativity, clear thinking for all things and, in general how much better I feel when I take care of myself – my goal is to share my life experience and inspire others to make positive changes! Have a wonderful day!

  2. That’s an interesting connection, creativity and exercise. My daughter is a painter and gets very little exercise. Perhaps if she works out she will be able to finish her work faster.

    I don’t have any problems with creativity – I got it coming out of my ears. But I do want to take up walking as I need some exercise myself. The only problem is that I’m lazy and the heat of summer is here.

    I strongly agree with your point about taking a break when facing a problem in order to do something else. Then in the background, your brain keeps working on the problem from different angles.

    1. Absolutely true. I’ve always been full of ideas as well but find that when I exercise they are more frequent and better ideas too…. it’s hot here too so a shorter walk with a big bottle of water helps. Yes, if your daughter began to exercise I’m sure it would help. It helps our bodies and our brains – then when in the habit we realize just how much it helps. It is sometimes hard for me to go to my class because I have so many ideas going I want to just stay home and work, while other times it’s easy because I know I will have ideas for when I get home. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

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