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As part of our Wellness At Work campaign, we looked into the benefits of walking meetings back in 2017. We provided you with 6 walking routes around Blythe Valley Park – three 30 minute walks and three 1 hour walks, to encourage you to take your meetings outside! We have recently updated those walking routes, which can be downloaded directly from this bulletin post.

Click read more to read about the benefits of walking meetings, and to download the routes:

“Walking meetings could bring longer and healthier lives to office workers” says a study undertaken at The University of Miami.

Nearly all of us have experienced that feeling of ‘switching off’ during a lengthy meeting, some of us start to nod off and our minds begin to wonder elsewhere, and we may find ourselves staring out of the window wishing we could be anywhere else than a stuffy meeting room. Your back may ache from hours of sitting down, and your eyes may be sore from staring at a glary screen for hours on end, and you may wonder… how good is this for you. Studies show we are now sitting for more hours than we are sleeping – is there not an alternative to this?

What if we could get out of the office? Not just to another office building with stuffy rooms, not just to a crowded coffee shop where you can’t here yourself think, but outside?! Walking outside for a meeting may sound taboo, but surely, it’s better than sitting inside at a desk? Aristotle was said to have walked as he taught, and he was one of the greatest philosophers of all time. Not only Aristotle, but Friedrich Nietzsche wrote “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking” (Aphorism 34, 1889).

If Aristotle and Nietzsche came up with some of the greatest philosophical ideas of all time when walking, perhaps we should copy them? Surely the purpose of a meeting is to create new ideas and to find new ways of thinking. Would a ‘walking meeting’ help to stretch our brains? Science says yes!

In a 2014 Stanford University research report named ‘Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking’, Marily Oppezzo and Daniel L. Schwartz found that “walking improves the generation of novel yet appropriate ideas, and the effect even extends to when people sit down to do their creative work shortly after”, and that “walking outside produced the most novel and highest quality analogies […] it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity”. Basically, walking is great for creative thought!

Not only is walking good for generating innovative thoughts, but as we know it’s one of the best forms of exercise – the average person burns approximately 150 calories in 1 hour walking at 1.8 mph. Walking meetings could also save your life! Research shows that just 30 minutes walking every day can dramatically decrease the risk of many diseases including dementia, heart disease and cancer. Surely that’s reason enough to try it out.

So how is it done? At Blythe Valley Business Park you’ve got the first part covered – you have a whole 122 acre country park on your doorstep to explore! But knowing how to pull off a successful walking meeting is useful. Below is advice from across the internet and from studies into these meetings….
Planned routes: Knowing your route prior to the walk helps the meeting run more smoothly and means that you won’t get lost!

Speed: Dr John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, suggests that “the best business meeting would have everyone walking at about 1.8 miles per hour” (Medina, 2015). 1.8 miles per hour is quite a slow speed, so what’s important is to all walk at the same pace.

Number of people: A Guardian article suggests “Invite fewer people to the meetings: groups of four are manageable – and you could stretch to six if you’re going to walk to an outside location where you will be sitting down.” (Guardian, 2014)

Making Notes: The Guardian article suggests “Make notes on your smartphones: perhaps you take turns to make sure the naysayers see these are proper meetings where decisions get made and actions happen as a result.” (Guardian, 2014) – but I’m sure notepad will be sufficient.

We’ve included walking routes around Blythe Valley to help kick start the walking meeting craze! So, give it a try, what have you got to lose? Print one off, pick a meeting, and give it a go!

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