Its story time.
I was working on my current game and had just fixed a bug with the controls and realized I didnt know what to work on next. It was late in the afternoon and I had already worked my day job for 8 hours and spent some time and brainpower fixing this issue. I wanted to keep working but was feeling mentally exhausted.
I figured I was just done for the day and decided to go for a run. Normally I like to go on runs outside, get some fresh air and sun, but this day it was raining so I hopped on the treadmill.
Three miles and 27 minutes later my brain was filled with ideas for what to work on next in the game and how to do implement them. I couldn’t wait to get back in front of my computer and start putting them in place.
Why This Works
Short answer, we don’t know why for sure. I looked at several articles and there are a few commonly held theories such as increased blood flow to the brain improves performance and the areas of the brain that are active during exercise are the ones used for learning and critical thinking. If you are interested in the studies you can search for ones like this one from Harvard. Regular Exercise Changes Brain, Improve Memory Thinking Skills
But just because we are not sure why or how something works, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. We know it works. So when you are feeling a little burnt out in the brain, get up out of you chair and go for a quick walk (or run if you are so inclined). You might get some of your best ideas yet.