“Sitting is the new smoking. It makes you fat and then it kills you”.
Not a great quote to read on a long-haul flight between Australia and Europe.
These words came from Lucy Kellaway’s Financial Times On work column, dated Monday 21 January 2013 (you can access the text for free if you click on the link and follow instructions).
Lucy wrote this piece as a description of her foray into the ‘walking meeting’, inspired by a recent Harvard Business Review blog Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation by Nilofer Merchant.
The walking meeting is literally that: rather than talking to business or work associates across a conference room table, you arrange to meet, and then pound the pavement in comfortable shoes whilst exchanging words.
Apart from the obvious benefits that being upright has on our health (as mentioned by Lucy and Nilofer, and as I touched on briefly in Sitting and standing), the walking meeting can change the way people interact. Avoiding the ‘face-off’ atmosphere of a desk-based meeting, walking meetings are less confrontational and perhaps better suited to allow reflection during the conversation. I’ve certainly found this to be true with my children; most of the deep dark secrets I’ve managed to extract from my 9-year old son have emerged bit by bit as we walk to or from school. Somehow he feels more able to tell me stuff as we walk along, as opposed to me and him across the kitchen counter in the “how was your day?” exchange which usually goes nowhere.
It’s one of the reasons I’ve resolved to walk the kids to school as often as I possibly can during 2013. And maybe I’ll even suggest a walk to a few work colleagues too.
[image thanks to Foxtongue on flickr]