Manly Beach, Walking Meetings ©
Making it Easy for Manly to Enjoy More Health
I believe in health made easy. You may remember my previous blog about sitting being more toxic than cigarettes. This has become quite a talking point since I first posted that article, people are now aware that too much sitting is unhealthy – we simply didn’t evolve to sit on chairs for long periods of time.
Did you know research says we sit for an average of 9.3 hours per day? This sounds like an exaggeration but when you combine commuting, desk work, eating and then relaxing in front of a TV it quickly adds up. That’s more time than most people spend sleeping and, for a species who evolved in the absence of chairs, it’s far too much.
Maybe it’s the digital age that’s to blame, or TV, or the iphone trend… Whatever, forget blame. Let’s find a solution. One that combines our love for Manly’s beautiful beach-side environment with an understanding of how to create health, and also involves all that ‘taking care of business’.
Movement is an essential nutrient.
Elegant solutions, I love them. Particularly when they help people create a lifestyle of maximum health and happiness.
We all understand that getting the heart pumping and clearing the lungs with fresh air is a healthy thing to do. But did you know that the ‘movement’ involved in physical activity is actually an essential nutrient for the brain? Yeah, movement is a nutrient!
More and more ‘diseases of lifestyle’ are being linked to chronic stress. Everything from heart attacks, to diabetes, to ADHD, the list goes on… The stresses of our unnatural modern lifestyle accumulate in the body’s physiology on a daily basis. This is first noticed as lack of energy, lack of mental focus and tension held in your body. If left unaddressed the retained stresses continue to accumulate, reducing performance, leading to aches and pains, then eventually illness and injury.
Movement feeds the brain with a very necessary stimulation that helps reverse this situation. Movement stimulation sent up the spinal cord into the brain quietens down the stress and anxiety centre in your brain (the amygdala). Allowing your nerve system to reduce the background noise of stress so it can hear itself and restore balance. Dr Roger Sperry (Nobel prize for Brain Research) tells us that 90% of this nutrient of movement is derived from the movement of the spine.
In fact the brain stimulation from bipedalism (walking upright on two legs) is one of the key factors in our evolution that allowed the amazing human brain to develop in the first place. Something as simple as walking helps your system rebalance and create an increased level of health. See… Health made easy!
‘Manly Walking Meetings’.
Sitting for 9.3 hours a day is crazy. We need habits that create physical activity wherever possible. A lot of time is spent sitting at work, so it makes sense to reduce this. A simple solution is the introduction of walking meetings. Strictly speaking it’s not a new concept, people have been chatting to each other whilst taking a stroll since, well, since we invented language. But somehow this healthy activity has become a rare event in daily life.
Walking meetings can be business related, or they can be social. The only difference is that instead of sitting in an office, or cafe, you are out walking. Breathing fresh air and moving your body. Our average walking pace is 5km/h, so a 90 minute business meeting will let you cover 7.5kms. That’s a handy amount of incidental exercise.
The benefits of a walking meeting:
– Improving overall health and wellness via movement
– Inspiration and new ideas due to fresh environment
– A natural way to re-energise during your work day
– Movement sharpens concentration, memory and creativity for elegant solutions to business challenges.
A few factors to consider with walking meetings:
– Keep it to less than half a dozen people (2-4 is better)
– Plan the walk in a fairly quiet environment
– Let people know they will be walking (stilettos anyone?…)
– Make sure everyone is interacting, keep the group close
– Assign a minuter who is able to walk and jot down notes or simply record key points on a smart phone
Manly and its surrounds make for amazing walking meetings. The Manly Beach to Shelly Beach walk around Cabbage Tree Bay is 1.5km of breathtaking oceanside walking – perfect for a weekly update with your team.
Here are some links to help you discover suitable Manly walks:
Give the walking meeting a try, it’s a practical, productive, healthy alternative.
Dr Andrew Maher
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