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Healthy tips for busy people. Get the skinny. Start feeling better.

Walk It Out

Walk It Out

by Becca Brannan, RN - April 09, 2015

You are sitting in a dimly lit room with no windows. The chair you are sitting in was comfortable for approximately 5 minutes. You know this because you have checked the clock on the wall so many times that the shape imprints on whatever you look at next. You can’t remember what the guy next to you just said. Well, let’s be honest… you weren’t really paying attention. You know this meeting pertains to you in some way. It was on your calendar after all, and important enough that you set a fifteen minute reminder prior to the start time. But, you just can’t muster up the focus you need to really contribute to the process. Has this ever happened to you?

I would wager it has happened to all of us at one time or another.

What can we do when the brain fog sets in? Walk it out!

Are you weary of the typical conference room meeting? Why not start a new trend at your workplace? Be the first to suggest a walking meeting. Walking meetings are a great way to help clear the brain fog, re-focus your mind and get your creative juices pumping. I know you have heard it before, but sometimes a gentle reminder (or a HUGE nudge) helps to get us going in the right direction.

So, here goes your nudge. Oh sorry, I meant your gentle reminder! Walking can: relieve stress, change your mood for the better, boost productivity, improve memory and ability to focus, help prevent and/or improve depression, increase problem solving skills, enhance self-esteem, lower blood pressure and improve health! I could go on, but you get the gist of it.

Of course, it isn’t always feasible to do a walking meeting. But, it can work in certain situations including small groups and short agendas. Here are some tips to get you started:

• Plan your route ahead of time so navigation will not be a distraction. Share the route with fellow attendees. Make sure to give them at least a day’s notice so they can wear comfortable walking shoes.
• Keep the fitness level of the attendees in mind when you are planning the route.
• If your walking route is outside, have a back-up plan in case of inclement weather.
• If you are really ambitious, include some stairs in the route!
• Email the agenda to all attendees prior to the meeting. Knowing the reason and goal to be accomplished during the meeting will help to minimize the distractions during the walk.
• Take advantage of the boost in creativity generated during walking meetings by using them primarily for brainstorming sessions.
• Take notes using a voice memo app on your smart phone. You can record all the important points without anyone having to stop to write or type meeting reminders. Type up the voice memos later and email to all the attendees.
• Be mindful of the time. Leave and return on schedule.
• End your meeting with clear action items for the attendees. This makes follow through more likely.
• Set a goal for a minimum number of walking meetings each month. Do your best to meet the target.
• Make it fun!

I think the best part of the walking meeting is returning to your workspace refreshed and newly focused. It often makes the insurmountable problem you had seem like small stuff that is easily solved.

The perfect time to start something never arrives. Just go for it & try it now!


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