Doctors: Walking meetings may improve health

walkinggeneric

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Many companies are now encouraging the practice of walking meetings.

For decades, Americans are becoming more obese.

Nearly 1 in 3 adults are clinically obese and this number is expected to approach 50 percent by 2030 if significant changes are not made.

1. What are “walking meetings?”

– Walking meetings are typically held with two or three people over a set route and period of time during the work day.

These meetings replace more traditional, sit-down office meetings in conference rooms. They are often 30 minutes at a time. Many of these meetings occur in the hallways or open spaces within a company but they can also take place outside or at a nearby park.

Some people are using walking meetings to boost their daily step counts. Others are spurred by mounting research on the physical and mental benefits of being more mobile at work.

2. What are their health benefits?

– Obviously, when we are able to move around at work, we are less likely to be sedentary and less likely to gain weight. We burn more calories when we move. A recent study showed that having walking meetings can add an average of 10 minutes a day more physical activity to a normal day.

Sitting for long periods of time is associated with increased rates of type 2 diabetes as well as obesity and other chronic diseases.

In fact, previous studies have shown that walking for as little as 15 minutes a day can add up to three years of life expectancy.

Most Americans fall far short of the CDC recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week.

Walking meetings can help.

Standing desks have received lots of media attention in recent years. However studies have shown that, standing burns only a few more calories than sitting.

In one study, it was found that walking for 15 minutes burned 54 calories, compared with 20 calories for sitting at a laptop computer and 22 for standing.

3. Can walking meetings improve productivity?

– One study showed walking meetings tended to spur creativity and more ideas were generated when a walking meeting was conducted as compared to a more traditional meeting.

In addition, healthy employees tend to be more productive and have more fun at work—all leading to increased productivity.

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