Walking Meetings Increase Physical Activity, According to a New Study

by Ryan

  • Walking meetings are becoming a more popular trend during the pandemic. 
  • Walking is one of the best things you can do to counteract sitting all day. 
  • Research found that workers who took walking meetings got more exercise.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Employees are tired of meetings. They’re burned out from looking at their computers and Zoom fatigue is on the rise. 

The number of meetings has skyrocketed during the pandemic. By February 2021, employees were spending 2.5 times as many minutes in meetings, according to an analysis from Microsoft. 

If you can’t reduce your meetings, but want a change of scenery, a walking meeting could be a good solution. Plus, research has shown that walking is one of the best things you can do to counter the effects of sitting all day. 

A 2016 study conducted by the University of Miami published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease found that replacing one regular meeting a week with a walking meeting increased the amount of high-intensity physical activity happening in a week by 10 minutes. This suggested that the walking meetings were having a positive impact on the worker’s health.

The small pilot study only looked at 17 people who worked at the university in office jobs. The participants were given accelerometers to track how fast they were moving over time. 

In the first week of the experiment, the participants were asked to go about their week the way they normally would. For the second two weeks, they were asked to set up a 30-minute walking meeting once a week with the other members of the study. 

Here are some of the other added benefits the researchers observed:

  • Some said they were more focused on the meeting itself, since they couldn’t be on their computer working on other tasks. 
  • The walking meetings kept their agendas on track, and the meeting ran efficiently. 
  • Some used it as a way to de-stress during the busy day. 
  • The meetings were easy to add to work routines, suggesting that it wouldn’t be too difficult to apply this to a larger group.

Although the study was relatively small, the researchers pointed out some ways to expand. They recommended that future studies increase the number of walking meetings each week and that they look at the effects on a larger number of participants. 

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