Walking. It’s so simple. Most of us start at about 1 year of age and keep doing it all of our lives. Problem is, we’re not doing enough of it daily.
Now, here’s the really good news: Walking is the SINGLE most important factor that can make a difference to your health. And all it takes is 30 minutes a day.
It sounds remarkable, but a highly watchable YouTube video by Dr. Mike Evans lays out the facts in a most entertaining visual presentation. According to Dr. Evans’ research, walking is good for your physical health: It has a positive impact on knee arthritis, diabetes, hip fracture reduction, hypertension, and obesity. But it is also remarkably effective for mental health. For instance, it reduces by 50% the decline to dementia in seniors, it substantially improves anxiety and depression and it is the single factor for improving fatigue. As Dr. Evans says, if you can limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23 ½ hours per day – you can be healthier.
Walking is also something many people do when looking for a creative solution. Visit any website that talks about boosting your creativity – and walking is almost always on the Top 10 list.
Walking is easiest to do regularly when your neighbourhood has a high Walkability rating. What is walkability? Factors such as winter snow removal and sanding icy sidewalks improve objective walkability and also keeping the sidewalks in good repair and well lit at night. But another very important factor is having somewhere to walk to. This is certainly more of a challenge in rural areas. As any country dweller knows, the minute you step out for a walk, somebody will stop to offer you a lift!
If you need to walk with purpose – instead of just for the enjoyment of it – having a dog is a powerful incentive – and several times a day. And, here’s another idea perhaps best suited for fair weather: the Walking Meeting. What a great way to avoid yet another Power Point presentation! We can credit Dr. Ted Eytan, with giving a name and some tips to this idea, but numerous others have endorsed it as a terrific way to stimulate ideas. Dr. Eytan’s list of advantages include:
- Privacy. It’s less likely that you’ll be interrupted by someone walking past your office
- You’ll enjoy a different kind of relationship building, both with people you know well, and with ones you don’t know well. There is something about sharing an experience with someone that creates an imprint
- You will organize your thinking on the topic at hand – this is a great way for people to go at the same pace for a little bit
- You will be visible in the community that you serve, as will your colleagues, which will make you think about new ways to serve better.
If you’re ready to try it, make sure to confirm the route is not too noisy, the terrain is relatively level, the route is suitable for walking 2-3 abreast and that participants bring their walking shoes.
Walking meetings are ideal for 1:1 in areas where you can walk side by side (not single file.) They are not going to work well for large groups. Some say up to six, but even that seems a stretch.
It certainly seems that the walking meeting is also best suited for big idea meetings – not detail focused meetings where copious notes are required. Some practitioners suggest either assigning a recording secretary or bringing a notepad (I’d suggest a smart phone) for jotting key points. You can even get coffee to go – if you’re addicted to the caffeinated meeting!
Even if you don’t take notes, Working Smarter newsletter suggests that at the end of the meeting you “recap briefly; check on points of agreement and identify next steps.” (no pun intended).
Stroll, stride, hike, march, saunter or amble – just walk!
this blog was previously published on theFlesherton.ca