I've written before how getting up early could potentially lead to more success. Since that post, I've discovered another thing that helps out my creative thinking: exercise. This isn't the first time in my life I have been getting up early to run. It was a practice I had competing in high school and college cross country and track. However, because I ran all the time, I never recognized the cause and effect relationship between exercise and work performance in school. Now that I have taken nearly a year off from the sport after the Chicago Marathon last year, I've been able to notice a difference between exercise and performance.
Even recently, FastCompany published an article discussing the positive correlation between exercise and the creative brain. It talks about how exercise doesn't 'only your ability to think, create, and solve, but your mood and ability to lean into uncertainty, risk, judgment, and anxiety in a substantial, measurable way...' In other words, it helps you be able to stay calm and think quicker on your feet.
Recently, I've tried to get back into running. Not anywhere close to where I was before but just enough to stay healthy. It's helped having my wife also get up and exercise too, although we rarely work out "together." That accountability to get up in the morning has been a huge help. I've noticed since getting up early to either run, lift weights or do some sort of light exercise, my brain is sharper at work. Staying on top of things is easier and my ADD doesn't kick in near as hard as it could.
The greatest part about running is that it gets my mind off of work for a while. I'm not 100% sure what I think about when I'm out but it's more than likely not related to Twitter, Facebook or any sort of marketing related nonsense. It's one of the best ways I know to clear my head. I'm thankful I have that outlet available to me and live in an area with great access to running areas. Love it.
What about you all? Does exercise help you with creativity? Or is there another outlet you prefer?