The research showed recent active behaviour had a bigger impact on heart failure risk than activity earlier in life.

London - Coming up with ideas could be as easy as a walk in the park.

We think more creatively when taking a stroll than when sitting, according to a study. Surprisingly, it is not being outside that matters, it is the exercise itself.

Researcher Marily Oppezzo said: ‘Many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking. With this study, we may finally be taking a step forward to discovering why.’

Dr Oppezzo, of Santa Clara University in California, did a series of experiments in which people undertook tests of creativity, such as playing word association games, while walking or while sitting at a desk.

In one experiment, the volunteers came up with twice as many clever ideas when walking.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, also revealed that walking is more important than being outdoors. Volunteers who walked, indoors or outdoors, came up with more ideas than those who sat inside – or were pushed in a wheelchair outside.

Dr Oppezzo said: ‘While being outdoors has many cognitive benefits, walking appears to have a very specific benefit of improving creativity.’

The benefits lasted even after sitting down, meaning big decisions needn’t necessarily be made on the hoof.

Dr Oppezzo added: ‘Walking before a meeting that requires innovation may be nearly as useful as walking during the meeting.’ - Daily Mail