A Step in the Right Direction for Office Workers: Walking Meetings


In an effort to increase the physical activity of office workers, researchers at University of Miami piloted a program to change one traditional sit down office meeting a week to a walking meeting.  Guidelines were established to continue the productiveness of the 30 minute meeting.  

Guidelines include:

  1. Set a time and place prior to starting the walking meeting
  2. Prepare an agenda and bring it with you on the walk
  3. Bring items such as water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and wear comfortable shoes to make the walk more comfortable
  4. Assign roles:  one person watches the time, another takes notes, another leads the walk route
  5. Follow the prescribed walk route
  6. Walk for a minimum of 30 minutes
  7. After the walking meeting, sit to wrap up and do any final tasks such as paperwork that cannot be done while walking

Data collected by the pilot group suggests that walking meetings were well accepted by white- collar workers and were easy to implement during the work day.  One walking meeting a week resulted in an average of 10 additional minutes of workplace physical activity.

Of course, adopting walking meetings could present a challenge here in South Florida.  Ill timed rain showers could derail a planned walking meeting.  Excessive sun and high temperatures could prevent successful implementation during the summertime.  But, when the weather is cooperative, walking meetings could be a great way for employees to break away from traditional sit down meetings and get some exercise during the workday.  Also, whereas traditional meetings may leave some employees feeling drained, walking meetings may energize employees and get them feeling ready to tackle issues that were brought up during the meeting.  

Walking meetings may also be a great way for employers to encourage employee health and inspire employees to carry that motivation to eat better and exercise more into the personal lives.  This change in habit could be especially helpful for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients who are trying to find ways to include exercise into their workday to assist with their weight loss efforts.  Having coworkers who are also motivated to improve their eating and exercise habits can be a boost for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients.  

The above is offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgery.  Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and gastric band patients come to his Boca Raton office from all over the state of Florida, including Delray Beach, Wellington, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Coral Springs, Orlando, and Jacksonville.  Dr. Shillingford encourages his weight loss surgery patients to incorporate exercise into the lifestyle, and walking meetings may provide an avenue for exercise for traditionally office bound workers.

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