A good walk…

by. Anthony Demangone

I’m reading more and more about the power of walking.

In the past, I’ve written on the powerful health benefits of walking. Other credit unions shared with me stories about their own walking clubs.  NAFCU has its own – the Walkie-Talkies.  Steve Jobs famously went on long walks to talk strategy and vision with his friends and colleagues.

A colleague passed along this article (HBR). In it, Dan Pellotta makes the case for taking walks.

Last year I gave the closing talk at the 2013 TED Conference. The talk has been viewed nearly three million times and is now one of the 100 most-viewed TED talks of all time. I rehearsed the talk entirely on icy-cold morning walks over the course of about two months last January and February. Far from a luxury, I dreaded those walks, because my rehearsing was hard work. The productivity of that hour was so dense—it was mentally exhausting. Had I stayed home, chained to my desk, where most of us are taught that real serious work happens, the work would have been easier—but far less productive. I’d have gone online every few minutes to check a favorite news site. Grabbed a chocolate chip cookie or a glass of water. Checked my e-mail. Walking affords no such distractions. It’s just you and the work.

A 2013 study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato from Leiden University found that people who go for a walk or ride a bike four times a week are able to think more creatively than people who lead a sedentary life. The British Journal of Sports Medicine found that those benefits are independent of mood. Sunlight also boosts seratonin levels, which can improve your outlook.

These findings are absolutely true for me. The first mile of my walk is just a racket of competing voices of judgment and to-do lists. But after about two miles, no matter how low my mood may have been at the outset, those voices settle down.

As I said, the idea seems to be gaining some steam.  Here’s a TED video by Nilofer Merchant urging folks to use “walking meetings.”  It is just one of many other articles touting the benefits of walking.

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