Productivity

Brain vs. brawn? Hitting the gym increases creativity

Steve Lopez
Culture Journalist

Steve Lopez is an experienced writer in culture, social issues and fashion

Steve Lopez
Culture Journalist

Steve Lopez is an experienced writer in culture, social issues and fashion

Whether you run a small graphic design firm, restaurant or construction business, one thing is for sure – creativity is a valuable trait. And getting fit could help you harness it.

Man running up stairs

The research

A 2014 Stanford University study found that exercise improves cognitive function and generation of new ideas, compared against those who sit.

Some participants were required to walk on a treadmill against a blank wall, while others took a walk outside. Others undertook seating sessions inside on chairs or were wheeled in wheelchairs.

The participants then took a creativity test relying on divergent thinking (a method used to create ideas by exploring many possible solutions). All of those that took part in physical exercise were able to generate one high quality idea, compared to just 50 per cent of those seated. Getting fit for work seems like a smart investment doesn’t it?

The Stanford University study builds on a 2005 Creativity Research Journal  paper showing that exercise positively impacts creative potential immediately after activity, and that this may extend for some period of time. 

Healthy results

AFL and NRL Fitness Coach Christian Marchegiani explains that when he owned his first gym, he had admin and membership staff that didn’t engage in physical activity. After he introduced a culture of getting staff involved with the classes with members and keeping fit, the increased workplace performance was outstanding.

The high energy and productivity by staff allowed Christian to pass the reigns while he appeared on the Channel Nine weight loss show Excess Baggage.

“Exercise is about more than just having a fit body. It’s about having a healthy mind. A strong body is an efficient body that creates a strong mind in the workplace, and gives you greater clarity when under stress,” says Christian.

Christian’s tips for work fitness
  1. Exercise before work. You will start the day energetic and with your creative juices flowing. No matter what happens throughout the day, you know that you have exercised so you won’t be beating yourself up or getting distracted for missing a session
  2. Get your team involved. Bootcamps for staff, or participating in sports can help build team morale and promote cohesion, as well as the benefits to productivity
  3. Encourage staff to leave their desk at lunch. Encourage your team to get out of the office and go for a walk. Whether it’s a run around the park or walk to a café, fit employees are happy and productive employees
  4. Be realistic. Start with only two to three days per week. This is manageable and it won’t put so much pressure on you to exercise. Schedule these sessions into your diary as you would a meeting or catch up with friends
  5. Monitor your progress.  It’s important to keep track of where you have been and where you’re going with your fitness goals. With the rise of technology you can do this with apps or smartphones, such as the Samsung S Health app on the Samsung Galaxy S6
It's the smartphone for the health-obsessed and the worker on the go.

Learn more about the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Find Out More

Related News

GenWise co-founders, Dr Sebastian Rees and Dr Troye Wallett.
Success Stories
Success Stories
Innovative online GP platform named 25th Telstra Australian Business of the Year

GenWise Health, a micro business using technology to improve how general practitioners provide aged care, is the 2017 Telstra Australian Business of the Year. GenWise Health,...

Two people looking at a tablet device
Success Stories
Success Stories
How winning businesses are using tech

Every year, the Telstra Business Awards celebrates small businesses that choose to innovative, to be curious, to be agile. This year’s entrants are no different, with many blen...

iSimulate at the 2016 Telstra Business Awards
Success Stories
Success Stories
Rise and shine: Winning advice from 2016 Telstra Business Awards alumni

As the 2017 finalists prepare their acceptance speeches in the hope they might win at Australia’s biggest business Awards program, a few of 2016’s winners reflect on their achi...

Woman working at laptop sticking address labels to boxes.
Tech Solutions
Tech Solutions
Pass the parcel: How to integrate postage services into your website

Incorporating automatic postage calculators into your online store might be the critical step you need to turn casual browsers into dedicated shoppers.