Walking rarely gets the recognition it deserves, especially when it comes to the world of business and management.
Unlike its publicity-courting cousin, running, walking is rarely associated with leadership and success. There are relatively few examples of Fortune 500 CEOs ‘powering through’ a 20k stroll on their way to work, nor prime-time comedians ‘sauntering’ through the Sahara Desert for their latest charity/publicity drive. Walking is an also-ran in more ways than one.
And yet, a quick flick through the history books reveals enough famous walkers to more than rival their more fleet-footed counterparts.
From Beethoven to Steve Jobs and the Queen, walking has helped many a historic heavyweight to achieve success in their chosen field, even if they haven’t yet felt the need to brag about it to their favourite financial journal.
As scientists will attest, walking offers an array of benefits for regular practitioners. Aside from the obvious physical perks of regular exercise, there are the various mental benefits to consider.
Walkers tend to enjoy lower stress levels, as well as increased cognitive function. To add to this, a recent study by Stanford University found moving around led to an increase in creativity in 81% of participants who had previously been seated.
The only area where walking really falls short (aside from the crummy PR team behind it) is the obvious time commitment involved. This may explain why it’s rarely the activity of choice among time-pressured modern professionals.
The flipside to this is that, contrary to more aerobically challenging activities, it can be crow-barred relatively easily into the working day. As well as being the perfect option for a reinvigorating, yet sweat-free lunch break, it is a great way to put a new angle on interviews, one-on-one meetings, and brainstorming sessions.
The most potent pro-ambulatory argument, however, is perhaps the fact that walking is what we humans are originally designed to do. Not pounding the pavement clad in lycra or expensive running shoes, or – worse still – wedged in behind a computer screen for 10 hours straight.
Walking may not win you any awards in the image stakes, but your body (and possibly career) will thank you for it.