How shaking it to the music can boost your creative output (rather than binge-watching Netflix).

Zumba continues to be the workout everyone is talking about. And just in case you thought there weren’t already enough reasons to engage in the high-impact sport, here comes another one: In a new investigation, Zumba classes were found to increase the creative output of participants!

The experiment was undertaken by Spacebase, a German startup aimed at changing the meeting industry by renting out extraordinary meeting and workshop venues. The objective of Spacebase was to examine the critical factors necessary to enable innovative idea generation. Ultimately, the goal was to answer the question of which stimuli would have the biggest impact on out-the-box thinking.

Zumba beats Netflix

Zumba has repeatedly been found to boost your mood by releasing lots of endorphins as you move to the rhythm of the music. Spacebase wanted to find out if this improvement in your mood is related to an improvement in productivity, which potentially could be helpful in a corporate environment.

To test that, the company split up complete strangers into two groups: One group participated in an intense, one-hour Zumba class, while the other group was asked to watch one hour of Netflix. Afterwards, both groups were challenged to perform a number of standardized creativity tests to measure their creative output.

It quickly became clear that the Zumba group outperformed the Netflix group with flying colors. And not only that: They also scored higher than any other group tested in the experiment, including a group of tipsy participants (who also had better results than Netflix watchers!) and a group who participated in a highly interactive workshop.

Zumba for lunch?

When asked for an explanation as to why the Zumba folks think they performed so well, the participants said that they felt that Zumba helped them as a group to break down the barriers between them—that working out together made them feel more comfortable within the group setting and also served as an ice-breaker. It seems that even though everyone is dancing on their own in a Zumba class, it still helps to establish a sense of community.

In a world where companies are looking to stand out from their competitors through innovative and radical ideas, this is a really interesting result. It’s no news that participating in sports and Zumba are great ways to help you stay in shape and release stress after a long day at work. But it might be more useful than expected to engage in such activities even throughout the day. If you work for a company, maybe you can convince your co-workers to try a Zumba class together before your next meeting or on your lunch break, not just to get active, but also to foster team spirit and even get more creative at what you’re doing. And if you’re self-employed or working on a private project that requires you to think innovatively, Zumba might be just what you needed to come up with original solutions.

Check out the video of the Zumba versus Netflix episode below, or click here to learn more about the scientific background of the project and expert explanations as to what happened.

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Photo credit: Courtesy of Zumba