We all know that getting outdoors is good for our mood & overall mental health.
But did you know that even a 15-minute walk outdoors can actually improve memory & concentration?
Along with the positive impact on our mood, motivation & fitness levels, research into 'green exercise' (also known as outdoor exercise) is an interesting area of neuroscience.
In this blog, we look at the positive benefits walking has to offer - with walking meetings being a great place to start.
Why walking is good for wellbeing & work
Walking helps work by improving focus, energy and kickstarting the creative process. Let's look at the facts.
Walking research shows that:
- Creativity improves after we get outside in nature
- Walking is great for the respiratory system
- It helps to quieten the mind, reducing anxiety & improving mental health
- Walking boosts the immune system. Don't forget the health benefits of even a short, brisk walk (even if you're battling a cold).
It doesn't matter where either. Whether that's round your garden, inside on a treadmill or out, about and knee deep in nature, walking:
- increases energy
- reduces stress
- helps cognition & memory
- aids sleep
- helps to build immunity
- improves circulation & calms the nervous system
And like that post-workout endorphin high, the results continue through to when you're firmly back on that seat and in front of the screen.
Who knows, walking might even help to solve that problem you've been mulling over.
4 benefits of walking meetings
Why not try taking a meeting outside, if you can? If there are a few of you (perhaps not too many) and you can talk and walk, why not give it a go?
Here are 4 benefits of walking meetings:
1. Get a creative boost
Stanford University research revealed that another positive impact of walking is that it improves creative outputs by up to 60%.
That's huge for productivity - and makes the process more enjoyable, too.
2. Physical health benefits
A brisk walk has health benefits - particularly for the heart, along with burning calories & building stamina.
And, as a low-impact activity, walking is kinder on the joints and thought to increase bone density over time. Healthier employees are happier employees, after all.
3. Improve engagement
So not only are walking meetings productive from a business perspective, they also benefit your team, too.
4. Close your tabs & switch off
To become fully alert, we need time to switch off. By shutting down our emails for a few minutes and taking time to move, we can begin to give our brain time to process (and even come up with new ideas).
Take your browser, for instance. If there are too many tabs open, it slows down and can't work properly. The longer you leave it with tabs and apps whirring away, the less efficient your computer and efforts will be.
In fact, you'll find that just a few minutes of refocusing your breath with a short walk - away from the report or email - makes all the difference.
Employee walking apps
Need some help getting started? Here are some app recommendations to get your team moving:
Our friends at Yulife put walking at the centre of their business. Their app is a tangible tool to help encourage and reward your people for harnessing healthy habits such as walking and meditation.
Each day, you automatically clock points for each step. Points turn to coins and coins are then swapped for online retail vouchers, experiences or employee development schemes.
If you'd like something to keep your people active and engaged outside of work, Racefully is the perfect tool. Wherever you are in the world, you can walk, run, cycle, or even snowboard together virtually, in real time.
Build a community, set personal goals, track progress and motivate each other to keep going. It's available on iPhone and Android, so get downloading and start your Racefully journey with your friends, family and colleagues.
Many enjoy walking as an escape to wind down. However, we often walk on auto-pilot, meaning our minds are often left to wander and can get caught up in remembering, dwelling, planning, worrying, or analysing. This can make walking much less relaxing.
That's where Headspace's walking meditation comes in handy. It's a great way to get your mind to walk with you. It sounds silly, but it really does work. You'll quickly notice how different you feel when paying attention to your surroundings, rather than what’s swirling in your head.
Overall, the benefits of walking are huge - not only for the health of your team, but also for productivity & creativity.
Why not try including walking more within your SME? Walking one-to-one meeting, anyone?
Author: Aimée Brougham-Chandler
Aimée, Breathe's Content Assistant, enjoys delving into HR topics. An IDM-certified Digital Copywriter as of February 2023, she’s loved guiding readers to solutions with her writing for over 2 years.