Hippocrates said it first, “walking is man’s best exercise.” And everyone else…the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Arthritis Association, the Mayo Clinic,…have been saying the same thing ever since…walking helps us maintain a healthy weight, helps strengthen our bones and muscles, helps reduce the risk of heart disease and many other ailments, and that walking helps improve balance and coordination, mental acuity and memory, boosts vitamin D intake and leads to a longer life. Whew! All that help and improvement available to almost everyone for nothing…amazing.
Real estate agents know first hand that walking has other benefits as well. For the most part prospective clients view homes by walking them. And, prospective clients become buying clients by talking with agents while walking those homes. Nothing facilitates agent-client connections as talking in “real time” while walking and viewing properties.
Steve Jobs also found that walking during meetings rendered the meetings much more productive than seated, face to face, stationary meetings. In 2014, the Journal of Experimental Psychology reported that “…walking opens up the flow of ideas…” and that “walking is a simple and robust solution to goals (involved with) increasing creativity…” An article in the Harvard Business Review echoed the Journal by saying that walking meetings help to improve productivity and creative thinking as long as the meetings included just a few people and excluded an eating destination.
A 2016 study published in the journal Cognition indicated that eye contact, or rather not having to make constant eye contact with someone while walking with them, was the key to having a productive walking meeting. It seems that even though eye contact and verbal processing appear to be independent from each other, people often avert eye contact during conversations despite being constantly told to “look the other person in the eye” all the time. Apparently, thoughts may flow more easily when your eyes are allowed to be “soft” and distracted rather than “hard” and having to constantly maintain eye contact with the person sitting opposite you at a table.
Another possibility, though purely anecdotal at this point, about why walking meetings are more productive than stationary meetings is that they are just that…walking, moving meetings whereby your body is already going, moving, flowing. Perhaps the physical motion involved with walking stimulates your mind to get going and flowing as well. Perhaps Steve Jobs already knew this secret and just didn’t think to tell us folks off the Apple campus.