"Walk and talk" to get your brain going

by HRM15 Oct 2012

It’s an approach the fictional staff of The West Wing were famous for – walking meetings through the hallways. Now a Canadian scientist says the science backs up the TV trend.

An expert in the health effects of inactivity and a proponent of “walk-and-talk” meetings, University of Prince Edward Island kinesiology professor Jamie Burr said moving around makes your brain work better.

“Research shows that it’s not just fitness that’s important for overall health but that sedentary time can have negative health consequences. Sometimes we’ll do an actual structured meeting where we’ll say, ‘Meet you at the outdoor or indoor track,’ and we’ll walk laps and talk,” Burr added.

Companies have heard what he has to say and are asking for Burr’s help adapting boardrooms into walk-and-talk meeting rooms – complete with a “track” taped to the floor.

Tri Fit president Veronica Marsden said there was no denying the role physical activity plays in strategic and creative thinking – and ultimately on an organisation’s bottom line.

“When you get up and you move, you increase brain activity, and that’s when you’re innovative; that’s when you come up with ideas,” Marsden said. “It’s amazing how much more creative you are and how you can break down barriers when you’re walking together side by side and not facing someone across the boardroom table.”

For the solitary worker there are innovative solutions, including the increasingly popular standing desk. About 10% of staff at Google, Facebook and AOL use standing desks, which have been around for almost 20 years although the trend really started taking off in the past few years.

And if you think standing all day isn’t enough of a challenge, you can take the walk and talk idea to the next level with a treadmill desk for those ready to walk-and-work.


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