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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

There's an idea

Exercise can help to spark the imagination and increase creativity, say scientists from the Netherlands

By Katie Barnes, Spa Business | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 4

Do keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of your garden or behind the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort,” once said Roddy Doyle, author of The Commitments, when asked how to avoid writer’s block. He’s not alone in this kind of thinking, as over the centuries many authors and artists have claimed that moving the body helps to overcome mental block and aid inspiration. Now researchers from the Netherlands have found regular exercise does indeed help promote creativity.

Thinking tasks
The research – which was led by Lorenzo Colzato, a cognitive psychologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands – specifically looked at the impact physical activity had on the two main ingredients of creativity: divergent and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking involves thinking up as many solutions as possible for a certain problem. Convergent thinking leads to one single correct solution for a given problem.

Ninety-six male and female adults aged around 20–21 years were recruited for the research. Half of them were athletes who’d exercised at least three times a week over the past two years, while the other half had led sedentary lives.

In the divergent thinking assignment, participants listed as many possible uses for six common household items, such as a pen, towel or bottle.

In the convergent thinking assignment, participants were presented with three unrelated words such as ‘time’, ‘hair’ and ‘stretch’. They were then asked to find a common associate – which in this example was the word ‘long’.

Each task was undertaken three times by both groups. First, the tasks were carried out while participants sat on a static bike but, for control purposes, did not exercise. Following that, the tasks were completed while participants cycled at a moderate speed, and then while they cycled at an intense pace.

Creative spark
The athletes performed better overall in the tasks, implying that exercise boosts creativity. However, it was also suggested that the fitness of the individual could have an impact, as well as the immediate exercise being carried out.

Non-athletes’ performance was significantly impaired when they exercised, and they performed worst in the task where they had to exercise the most. Meanwhile, athletes performed slightly better in the convergent thinking test when they exercised, specifically when they cycled the hardest. Further research is needed to look at why this is the case, but the scientists speculate that there could be a number of causes.

Colzato says: “We think physical movement is good for the ability to think flexibly, but only if the body is used to being active. Otherwise, a large part of the energy intended for creative thinking goes to the movement itself.”

For the athletes, the actual act of exercise was automatic, so they had more capacity for thinking while they worked out. In addition, the scientists believe aerobic fitness training might enhance cognitive-control processes and the tasks relying on them. They suggest that “it’s not unreasonable to suspect that even more active individuals would show reliable benefits in tasks relying on convergent thinking”.

*Colzato, LS et al. The Impact of Physical Exercise on Convergent and Divergent Thinking. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. December 2013

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New research suggests that exercise can boost creative thinking
People
We have one club in Madrid with 27,500 customers and 20,000 people on a two year waiting list
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Aaron Smith

Founder, KX Pilates
‘KX’ stands for ‘the Kaizen Experience’, which means ‘change for the better’ in Japanese. It’s a philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement. We’re always seeking to improve, not only as a company but as individuals
People
HCM people

Jo Smallwood

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We saw the opportunity to initiate new partnerships with the Oldham Foodbank to help local residents during the COVID-19 crisis. We can’t serve our community in the way we would usually do, so we’ve moved resources to help where people need us most
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features

There's an idea

Exercise can help to spark the imagination and increase creativity, say scientists from the Netherlands

By Katie Barnes, Spa Business | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 4

Do keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of your garden or behind the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort,” once said Roddy Doyle, author of The Commitments, when asked how to avoid writer’s block. He’s not alone in this kind of thinking, as over the centuries many authors and artists have claimed that moving the body helps to overcome mental block and aid inspiration. Now researchers from the Netherlands have found regular exercise does indeed help promote creativity.

Thinking tasks
The research – which was led by Lorenzo Colzato, a cognitive psychologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands – specifically looked at the impact physical activity had on the two main ingredients of creativity: divergent and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking involves thinking up as many solutions as possible for a certain problem. Convergent thinking leads to one single correct solution for a given problem.

Ninety-six male and female adults aged around 20–21 years were recruited for the research. Half of them were athletes who’d exercised at least three times a week over the past two years, while the other half had led sedentary lives.

In the divergent thinking assignment, participants listed as many possible uses for six common household items, such as a pen, towel or bottle.

In the convergent thinking assignment, participants were presented with three unrelated words such as ‘time’, ‘hair’ and ‘stretch’. They were then asked to find a common associate – which in this example was the word ‘long’.

Each task was undertaken three times by both groups. First, the tasks were carried out while participants sat on a static bike but, for control purposes, did not exercise. Following that, the tasks were completed while participants cycled at a moderate speed, and then while they cycled at an intense pace.

Creative spark
The athletes performed better overall in the tasks, implying that exercise boosts creativity. However, it was also suggested that the fitness of the individual could have an impact, as well as the immediate exercise being carried out.

Non-athletes’ performance was significantly impaired when they exercised, and they performed worst in the task where they had to exercise the most. Meanwhile, athletes performed slightly better in the convergent thinking test when they exercised, specifically when they cycled the hardest. Further research is needed to look at why this is the case, but the scientists speculate that there could be a number of causes.

Colzato says: “We think physical movement is good for the ability to think flexibly, but only if the body is used to being active. Otherwise, a large part of the energy intended for creative thinking goes to the movement itself.”

For the athletes, the actual act of exercise was automatic, so they had more capacity for thinking while they worked out. In addition, the scientists believe aerobic fitness training might enhance cognitive-control processes and the tasks relying on them. They suggest that “it’s not unreasonable to suspect that even more active individuals would show reliable benefits in tasks relying on convergent thinking”.

*Colzato, LS et al. The Impact of Physical Exercise on Convergent and Divergent Thinking. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. December 2013

If you would like to get each issue of HCM magazine sent direct to you for FREE, plus the weekly HCM ezine, sign up now!
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/HCM2014_4idea.gif
New research suggests that exercise can boost creative thinking
Latest News
The UK's fitness industry can finally get back to business on Saturday 25 July, following ...
Latest News
HCM understands a decision on reopening dates for gyms and also for spas will be ...
Latest News
Interest in gym reopening in England is reaching fever pitch, with an announcement expected any ...
Latest News
Exercising increases levels of a protein hormone secreted by the bones which has a powerful ...
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A free-to-access training platform has launched to help the sport and fitness workforce confidently return ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Let's get restarted: Physical Company offers advice on keeping gym members safe
As countries around the world gear up to relax their lockdown rules, there remains a question mark over gyms and studios, which in many markets will be one of the last sectors to be given the green light.
Video Gallery
Technogym mywellness app
Technogym
Improve your training experience. All your data in a single app. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Merrithew™ - Leaders in Mindful Movement™
Merrithew™ enriches the lives of others with responsible exercise modalities and innovative, multidisciplinary fitness offerings ...
Company profiles
Company profile: TRX Training UK
TRX provides world-class functional training by offering quality equipment, effective workouts and world-class education capable ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Fitness equipment
TRX Training: Fitness equipment
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Gym flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
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FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
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Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
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17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
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Online,
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