Most people are aware that they should be more active. You’ve probably heard that ‘sitting is the new smoking’ (What about vaping?), and have tried to introduce more exercise into your life.
The issue for most people if finding any free time to be active. We spend so much of our day sitting in front of a computer that by the time we get home we are exhausted. Excercise is the last thing that most of us feel like doing after a full day in the office.
One way to solve this problem is to try holding a walking meeting.
What is a walking meeting?
A walking meeting is a meeting that is held while walking. It’s like a normal meeting, except instead of sitting down in a boardroom, you are recharging in the sun, boosting your creativity and doing wonderful things for your health.
The health benefits of walking meetings
Walking is easy on the joints and limbs and has immense benefits for the way our bodies function. It can be done by almost everyone and doesn’t require expensive equipment. And you don’t have to walk very far to for it to have a big impact on your overall health and wellness:
“Most office workers spend all day in front of a computer. This places pressure on the neck and spine which causes pain and discomfort. Alongside remedial massage therapy, I often recommend trying to walk for an extra five to ten minutes per day. This helps correct the poor posture caused by sitting down for extended periods of time, and can lessen the severity of chronic back, neck and shoulder pain.”
Teresa Corso – Massage Therapist at Jowett & Moulton Chiropractic
Walking has many distinct health benefits including:
- Stimulating blood flow – Long periods of sitting make it difficult for your arteries to contract and relax. Walking helps arteries to be able to contract and relax normally.
- Improving brain neurochemistry – Walking uses both sides of the brain and has been shown to increase creative thinking in over 80% of people (Oppezzo & Schwartz 2014)
- Mental Health – The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that office workers experienced increased relaxation and enthusiasm, as well as a reduction in stress after walking for 30 minutes at lunchtime. This is because exercise causes the body to release endorphins which improve our mood and reduce stress levels.
- Weight management – Walking is a form of physical activity that is easy on your joints. Regular walks, in combination with proper diet and other forms of exercise, have a big impact on weight loss and management.
- Reducing our risk of chronic disease – Brisk walking reduces the risk of developing many diseases including; diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. (Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2013).
- Managing lower back pain – The Clinical Rehabilitation journal (2013) found that walking is as beneficial for low back health as training of the abdominal and back muscles.
- Increased Vitamin D Absorption – In winter, many people living in Melbourne are not getting adequate levels of Vitamin D. Walking outside with parts of the body exposed is vital for maintaining healthy vitamin D levels in winter. See the Cancer Council website for more details.
Walking meetings as a part of corporate wellness programs
85% of organisations place wellness at the top of their employee initiatives (Colliers 2017). Employee well-being programs generate a 3:1 return for every dollar spent due to:
- Lowered medical costs
- Increased productivity
- Reduced absenteeism
- Lower rates of turnover
- Less employee stress
Alongside standing desks, on-site gyms and communal exercise programs, many leading companies are now encouraging staff to have walking meetings.
“37% of employee time is spent in meetings, that’s nearly 15 hours a week! Imagine if just half of that time was spent outside. We’d have a much happier and more productive workforce.”
Andrew Moulton – Chiropractor – Jowett & Moulton Chiropractic
A walking meeting is an easy and cost-effective way to help working people maintain a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, walking meetings lead to employees reporting higher levels of engagement at work (HBR 2017.)
Walking meetings increase creativity and productivity
Walking been proven to increase creativity, both while walking and shortly after. Over 80% of people have been found to be more creative when walking than sitting, and this effect increases when they are walking outside (American Psychological Association).
Many people also report that they feel a lot more productive in walking meetings than in sit-down meetings:
“The fact that we are walking side-by-side means the conversation is more peer-to-peer than when I am in my office and they are across a desk from me, which reinforces the organizational hierarchy.”
Dr. David Haimes – Senior Director – Product Development at Oracle (HBR 2015)
There is also evidence that walking meetings are more honest and open than traditional meetings.
“People become much more relaxed, and they talk from their hearts if you go for a walk with them. And they get to the point they want to make much more quickly.”
Hilmet Ersek – Western Union CEO
Our Tips for Holding A Walking Meeting
Ready to hold your first walking meeting? There are a few things that you need to do to ensure the meeting is a success:
- Let people know in advance: Not everyone is enthusiastic about walking meetings and some meetings just don’t work while on the move (presentations, large groups etc). Additionally, you may need some extra gear that people don’t always keep in the office (runners, wet weather gear etc.)
- Don’t invite too many people – Walking meetings work best with just 2 people, but if held in the right location (e.g. one of the Melbourne’s many parks) they can work with up to five participants.
- Check the weather – Melbourne’s weather is notoriously bad tempered! Be sure to check the weather forecasts in advance and plan your walking route accordingly.
- Wear Comfy Shoes – High heels can cause ankle, knee, hip, back and neck problems, and these will only get worse the more you walk in them. Keep a spare pair of runners or flats in the office for walking meetings. Your back will thank you, and so will your chiropractor!
- Jot down an agenda – You’d be surprised by how little you actually need to write down during meetings, but it is always a good idea to come prepared. Use a scrap piece of paper or index cards to write down any key points that you want to talk about on your meeting.
- Take phone calls on the move – If you have to have regular conference calls try taking them while out walking.
Where to hold a walking meeting in the Melbourne CBD
Melbourne is a fantastic city for holding walking meetings. The topography is great, and there are many interesting landmarks like the State Library, Federation Square and the Bourke Street Mall.
Melbourne was one of the first planned cities, and this makes it easy to calculate how long it will take to get anywhere. Melbourne was built on the ‘Hoddle Grid’ which is exactly one mile long by half a mile high. This means every city block is a uniform 202 x 202 Meters. This is best illustrated on old maps of the Melbourne CBD.
It should take most people about 2.5 minutes to walk 200 meters. You can use this knowledge to plan a walking meeting of any time:
- 10 minutes – Walk around a city block
- 20 minutes – North to south or vice versa (e.g. Flinders St to Latrobe St)
- 40 minutes – East to west or vice versa (e.g Spenser St to Spring St)
You can also take advantage of the free tram zone to zip back quickly to work from most major intersections in the CBD.
The top 5 places to go for a walking meeting in the Melbourne CBD.
Here are some of the team at Jowett & Moulton Chiropractic’s favourite places to go for a walking meeting in the Melbourne CBD.
5.) Southern Cross Station to the Library at the Docks
Length: 30 to 45 Minutes (one way).
Location: West of the CBD
Good for: Sea views, City Views, Large groups, Meetings with a view.
Bad for: Windy days, Bad weather
This walk takes you from the western end of the Melbourne CBD into Docklands. There are communal tables and even computers available at the Docklands library, so it is a good place to stop for a coffee and jot down any notes.
To get here, walk over the bridge on Bourke street to the Etihad Stadium. Keep going past the stadium, and proceed onto the Docklands promenade. The Library is at the very end of the pier, where Bourke St becomes Collins St.
4.) Flagstaff Gardens to the Queen Victoria Markets
Length: 20 – 30 minutes
Location: North of the CBD
Good for: Large groups, Scenery, Views of the City.
Bad for: Crowds, Weather.
This walk takes you from the North end of the Melbourne CBD into the Queen Victoria Markets. The Queen Victoria Markets are a great place to grab a quick bite to eat but can get crowded on market days (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
To get there, walk up King Street t the Flagstaff gardens, then follow one of the many paths to the top of the gardens to William street, and continue on to the Queen Victoria Markets. If it’s a nice day out, or you have a large group, it can sometimes be preferable to do a few laps of the gardens.
3.) Melbourne’s many parks
Good for: Quick walks, Long walks, Sculpture, Meetings near your office.
Bad for: Bad weather.
Melbourne has some fantastic parks located all around the city. Some of our favourites include:
- North of the CBD: Flagstaff Gardens, The Carlton Gardens (including the museum and exhibition centre).
- East of the CBD: Parliment Reserve, The Fitzroy Gardens.
- South of the CBD: Alexandria Gardens, The Royal Botanic Gardens
2.) Flinders St Station to Melbourne Central
Length: 20 to 40 Minutes
Location: The heart of the Melbourne CBD
Good For: Architecture, People watching, Bad Weather, Food, Window Shopping, Public Transport.
Bad For: Crowds, Walking quickly
This walk is quintessentially Melbourne, and amazing for tourists. It’s also about 90% undercover, and perfect for a rainy day.
There are a few ways you can do this walk and many different variations. The quickest way is probably to walk along Swanston Street to Melbourne Central, but it is worth exploring the many laneways and arcades nearby and extending or altering the route.
1.) The Yarra River
Length: 45 to 60 minutes
Location: South of the CBD
Good for: River views, People watching, Running, Feeling like you aren’t in the city
Bad for: Traffic, Mud, Bad Weather
And finally, the mighty Yarra River. This walk is the perfect route for walking meetings as there are so many starting points, and interesting things to see along the way. There are very few roads to be wary of, but you do still need to be on the lookout for runners and cyclists. It is best for meetings between two people as the pavement can get quite rough at times.
It is best for meetings between two people as the pavement can get quite rough at times and on a sunny day, you can expect it to be packed.
Now all that’s left for you to do is to get out there and start exploring. And if you do find an amazing location for walking meetings, or have any tips to make them run smoother, please let us know.