Ever since, as a toddler, I took my first confident steps and uttered my first coherent sentences those two activities – walking and talking – have remained among my favourites. This is fortunate because both are beneficial to one’s wellbeing and help build resilience: walking is an efficient way of keeping physically fit*, whereas talking is a good way to exercise the mind. I do, of course, have other favourite activities but not all of them can be said to be as good for me so I’ll focus on these two and, in particular, the art of combining them as one.
Sometimes I like to walk and talk alone – in which case the talking takes the form of an internal dialogue, an effective way of ordering my thoughts. I find that stretching your mind while stretching your legs is a very effective use of time: and you can add even more value by taking the dog along.
But when what you want is to talk out loud and engage with others, invite your friends along: it’s a great way to socialise, substituting a healthy walk for a potentially unhealthy session in the wine bar.
And getting down to business can also be done effectively on the hoof. A walking discussion with business or work colleagues can be a great creative stimulus: by taking yourselves physically outside of the box you stand a better chance of thinking outside of it as well. Check out Nilofer Merchant’s Ted talk – got a meeting? take a walk
The best walk/talk sessions combine all of the above. They take you on the journey towards that ultimate destination, life-work harmony, a place where everything comes together: you socialise with your network and from that interaction flows your work. In this ideal world there is no dividing life up between healthy recreation and unhealthy work practices. But if you want to get there you have to start walking the walk and talking the talk.
*Walking – ‘the closest thing we have to a wonder drug’ – Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Thomas Frienden.