To boost thinking and creativity, get employees up off their duffs

by on March 11, 2013 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Cafe

So, if it was good enough for Aristotle and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is it good enough for you?

What is “it”? Walking – as a precious aid to thinking and creativity.

Here’s how Rousseau, the 18th century French-Swiss philosopher, put it: “My mind only works with my legs … When I stop, my mind ceases to think.”

The Peripatetics
Aristotle and his followers would walk the grounds of his Lyceum in Athens, discussing ideas. A group of these followers even got its name from this habit: the Peripatetics, from the Greek pateo – tread –– and peri – around.

Behind all this philosophy lies a physiological truth – the brain is stimulated by movement, notably by walking.

So how can you and your employees profit from regular walkabouts?

Walking meetings
Blogger Nilofer Merchant at the Harvard Business Review website says she holds outdoor “walking meetings” covering several miles, up to four times a week. Among the benefits she has noticed (aside from physical fitness):

  • Walking side-by-side puts the topic in front of the participants (all are facing in the same direction, forward), and they literally approach it together.
  • Mobile devices stay in pockets (and don’t distract).
  • The direct connection to the natural world – including its heat, or cold – keeps participants alert.
  • Fresh ideas – and excitement – spring from the walk

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