Living in an urban centre, it’s no surprise that more people are converting to the cycling lifestyle. Cycling is more efficient than public transit, cheaper than owning a car, and actually makes you happier. The mobility and immediacy of cycling makes it a great tool to improve other aspects of life. By changing your cycling route, you are increasing your brain's creativity, problem solving capabilities, and awareness.
The Surrealists and Situationists in 1920s Paris incorporated exploration of the city’s streets, taking new routes, and getting lost within one’s own city as an essential and important part of the creative process. Called a dérive, these walks served as a way to disengage from the normality of routine, get the brain working in abstract ways, and mindfully delve deep into the subconscious to bring forward new ways of thinking, innovation, and experimentation.
With modern understanding of neuroscience, we can see how effective this method was at developing new connections, increasing problem-solving capability, improving lateral thinking, and heightening awareness and mindfulness, all crucial elements to the creative process.
CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING
Cycling, amongst all types of exercise, causes the body’s systems to function more closely together than they would if we were sedentary, increasing the capacity for creativity. Cycling through an unfamiliar neighbourhood disengages the muscle memory of the daily commute, and by exposing the brain to new things you are in fact flexing its problem-solving muscle. Since every new situation, sense or experience creates new/alters existing neural pathways in your nervous system; frequently exposing yourself to new things will boost your creativity.
BE A TRAVELLER
The exploratory nature of travel engages our brains and senses more than the auto-pilot of daily routine. Switching up cycling routes is a great way to become a traveller everyday. Taking unfamiliar turns, exploring new challenges, and pushing our limits helps us take in more information, see new and fresh perspectives, absorb information more fully, and remain present during our new experiences.
DO IT YOURSELF
Biking home a different way each day, we are in fact making our brains stronger, sharper and more creative. Here are ways you can do it:
- Strap a bottle of wine onto your bike and have a picnic in a new park every weekend
- Explore your city's vast array of bike paths by checking out this heat map of the most popular cycling routes
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