How can walking improve your productivity?

Pumpkin brainToday is National Walk@Lunch Day, so grab your Fitbit and get moving. An increasing number of companies are incorporating wellness and activity into their culture as a means of improving the health of their employees and reducing health care costs. Plenty of research also shows that wellness programs have a significant impact on productivity and overall happiness.


So what is it about physical activity that makes us so much more productive?

  1. Physical activity stimulates creative thinking. The rhythm of movement is said to be ideal for cultivating ideas. Great creators like Dickens and Hugo were avid walkers during ideation. Corporate rugs across the world have been worn thin by executives who compulsively pace while solving problems and generating new ideas.
  2. Physical activity encourages people to talk. My husband can usually be described as somewhat quiet. That is until we’re out for a walk or run when he can be fairly described as a Chatty Kathy.  What is it about walking that gets him talking? For one, we’re outside of our confined walls taking in all the sights, smells, and sounds of our city. Everything becomes an input for conversation: the new storefront sign, the dog walker wearing a sombrero, the prevalence of ankles on display among the fashionable men in the city.Take your employees out for a walk and see what conversations unfold!
  3. Physical activity engages employees. Engagement in itself increases productivity. What better way to engage your employees thoughtfully than going for a walk together? The best form of engagement does not come from a survey, but rather comes directly from engaging employees in conversation—about their ideas, concerns, or anything else for that matter. Get the most from that conversation by going outside and walking around!
  4. Physical activity makes us smarter. Studies have shown that bodies that exercise have a higher capacity for knowledge. Furthermore, those proteins in our brain (called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or BDNF, for those who care) that make us concentrate and think more clearly are highest within an hour after exercising. So if you’re feeling frustrated and can’t concentrate at your desk, get up and get some exercise.
  5. Physical activity makes you happier. Those previously mentioned proteins don’t just make us smart, they make us happy. That mixed with the endorphins that are released during exercise, and we’re feeling pretty good. And we all know that we’re much more productive when we’re happy!

Make wellness and activity part of your company’s culture. Your employees will get more done and will be happier doing it!