In March of this year, UBC’s Department of Human Resources changed homes. We moved from the centrally located General Services Administration Building (GSAB) to the south end of campus, to join the TEF3 building family.
The move has made me realize how spoiled we were in terms of location in GSAB. There is something to be said for being steps away from transportation, ample food choices and for the ease of knowing it would never take more than 10 minutes to walk to a meeting. The thought of having to walk farther to get to the office each day, in addition to the prospect of adding additional time to get to and from meetings, caused me anxiety and frustration.
Three months later, I realize that the move has provided us with a great opportunity. We have been given the chance to be outside more often during the day, to explore a different corner of campus and to walk. I plan on taking full advantage of walking on campus this summer and in doing so, hope to promote not only my physical health but my mental health.
Too busy to get out of the office? Try a walking meeting.
Walking meetings are becoming more popular as they allow work and productivity to continue while promoting healthy behaviours.
Take advantage of the nicest months that Vancouver has to offer on campus and become healthier and more productive in the process. Studies show that walking increases creativity and cognitive function. The multitasking that occurs when a person walks and talks does not hinder performance and can actually boost focus and attention. Want to make your walking meeting even better? Take it outside.
According to studies, “forest bathing”, a short leisurely visit outside, particularly in a forest or highly green area, can lead to decreased stress levels and a healthier immune system. Forest environments promoted lower cortisol levels (a hormone released in response to stress), lower blood pressure, and a heightened parasympathetic nervous system (promotes digestion and slows heart rate).
Here are some tips for hosting a walking meeting. I hope to see more of our UBC colleagues out this summer, walking and talking their way to increased productivity and better health.
How to Host a Walking Meeting:
Keep meetings small and manageable
Host one-on-one meetings, small group brainstorms, or break a larger group up into small working groups
Set out the meeting objectives ahead of time
Provide notice to participants to dress appropriately
Proper footwear is a must for walking meetings.
Bring small note pads or a recording device
You might want to jot down or record ideas that come up.
Map out a basic route ahead of time
This will provide direction to the group and keep you on task
Keep it concise
Be mindful that people have others tasks to accomplish in their day.
Add a walk to a conference
Think about adding a walk as part of a conference or meeting break.
Campus and Community’s UTown has provided us with some suggestions for walking tours around campus. They have provided the approximate times and notable stops along the way!
Pacific Spirit Park is always another good option. Find the trail map here.
Until next time,
Kline, J., Poggensee, K., Ferris, D. (2014) Your brain on speed: cognitive performance of a spatial working memory task is not affected by walking speed. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Vol. 8.
Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, D. L. (2014). Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning,Memory, and Cognition.
Park, BJ., Tsunetsugu, Y., Kasetani, T., Miyazaki, Y. (2010) The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): Evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine. Vol 15, Issue 1.