If you’ve ever seen a movie with lots of intelligent characters, like films written by Aaron Sorkin, then you know that the most important meetings don’t happen in conference rooms or over video chat — they take place on the move (maybe dramatically bursting through a few doors, too).
You don’t have to walk as swiftly or as purposefully down hallways as those characters do, but there are countless benefits to walking meetings that will make you feel better physically, mentally, and professionally. Walking is one of the most basic forms of exercise that gets you out into the world, enjoying the fresh air instead of being stuck at a desk all day.
If you’re a remote worker feeling a little isolated, talk to your boss or employees about the benefits of walking meetings. Your day will be brighter for it. Below are some of the benefits you can bring up.
Walking is an incredibly underrated form of exercise. According to NBC, walking can improve your heart health, circulation, endurance, and overall fitness, as well as reduce symptoms of depression, pain, and your risk of various diseases. It’s also low-impact, so it’s light on your joints, and it can improve your posture because you’re not slumped over at a desk for hours on end.
Unfortunately, not everyone walks as much as they should. The CDC recommends that adults walk around 10,000 steps per day if they are able (equivalent to about five miles). However, most adults in the U.S. only walk between 3,000-4,000 steps, which doctors consider sedentary. If you sit at a desk for nine hours each day (which is three hours longer than you should sit for), then it’s essential to replace some of that sitting time with walking.
Don’t have room in your busy schedule? Sure you do! Make time during the day by walking during your meetings. You can trust apps like Spot to keep you connected and take notes so you can go for a stroll wherever you are while communicating with your colleagues.
Besides improving your physical health, walking also supports your mental wellbeing. As we mentioned above, walking can reduce symptoms of depression and improve your overall mood because it gets your blood flowing to your brain better than when sitting. WebMD notes that walking positively influences your central nervous response system, which is responsible for how you respond to stress. Walking calms your nerves, helps you sleep, boosts your alertness, and does all kinds of incredible things for your mind.
Because walking gets the blood flowing throughout your brain and body, it can positively impact your creativity, too. Have you ever felt like you have writer’s block (or an equivalent of it) when sitting at your desk or in a meeting that drags on forever? Your brain isn’t stimulated, so it’s much harder to imagine new designs, solutions, products, campaigns, or other kinds of ideas. It might be best to reach a consensus when everyone is together and sitting down, but consider taking your next brainstorming meeting outside.
Your productivity is not a measure of how good you are at what you do, but if you need to get a project done as soon and as well as possible, then going for a walk could give you the charge you need. Even mild forms of exercise help develop connections between neurons, enabling you to pay attention better and devote more concentration to your tasks at hand. Looking at your screen for too long or sitting in hours-long meetings can make you feel like you’re in a rut, but going outside and getting your blood pumping allows you to focus when you return to your desk with refreshed energy.
Where you walk makes a difference. Spending time in nature boasts countless benefits for your physical and mental health, such as refreshing your state of mind and helping you be more present. Nature grants you a nice change of scenery from your home or office. Unfortunately, many people live in urban areas without access to natural spaces (though in our opinion, public parks definitely count). Find whatever nature you can!on’t hesitate to go for a stroll through your neighborhood while communicating with your coworkers to reap all the benefits of walking.
Are you sold on walking meetings? They can bring a much-needed change of pace to your day and improve your health in multiple ways. Their format is a little different from in-person meetings, so remember to determine the purpose of the conference, how long it will last (you’ll get tired eventually!), plan your route, have a pair of comfortable shoes accessible, and get moving!