Free-flowing thought is more likely while walking indoors or outdoors, researchers found.

"Many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking," said Marily Oppezzo of Santa Clara University.

"With this study, we finally may be taking a step or two toward discovering why," said Oppezzo.

Schwartz from Stanford University's graduate school of education conducted studies involving 176 people, mostly college students.

They found that those who walked instead of sitting or being pushed in a wheelchair consistently gave more creative responses on tests commonly used to measure creative thinking.

When asked to solve problems with a single answer, however, the walkers fell slightly behind those who responded while sitting.

Of the students tested for creativity while walking, 100 percent came up with more creative ideas in one experiment.

In other experiments, 95 percent, 88 percent and 81 percent people from walker groups had more creative responses compared with when they were sitting, said the study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.


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