Walk: Fresh Air Fresh Ideas

Walking in some cases has become a lost art, especially in cities such as Los Angles that thrive on such an intense automobile culture. However, people are starting to catch on to just how bad sitting can really be for the human body, as brilliant minds pave the way for a movement for fresh air and fresh ideas.

Studies show that too much sitting can cause organ damage, heart disease, colon cancer, an overproductive  pancreas, mushy abs, tight hips, limp glutes, foggy brain, strained neck, sore shoulders and neck, poor circulation, soft bones, disk damage and an inflexible spine. Not to mention, people who watched the greatest amount of TV in an eight and a half-year study, boasted a 61 percent higher risk of dying than those who watched less than one hour per day.

Siting is so prevalent that it has become what Nilofer Merchant, author and Silicon Valley corporate executive calls the “smoking of our generation” on her TED talk about how walking has changed her life. In the talk, she gave statistics that revealed a shocking truth about Americans: they sit more than they sleep, with an average 7.7 hours of sleeping and an average, 9.3 hours of sitting.

However, Nilofer Merchant and other creative thinkers like her are starting a movement in which productivity no longer requires fluorescent lights and padded chairs, taking their meetings outside of the office and onto the streets, inspiring those they work with and those around them to let the fresh air bring fresh ideas.

Freelance writer and UPOD creator, David Hochman is catching on to just how important walking really is and is doing it while he works in what he calls, “A Pod Walk.” Calling on clients to “Walk the Talk,” Hochman incorporates a “step by step” coaching method in which he coaches writers on the move.

Jaipaul Swammidass is another creative mover. As a successful life coach, entrepreneur, strategist, and CEO of BraveLife Academy, he encourages his clients and those he works with to do a “walk and talk” every day, often strolling along beaches and around Irvine National Park, in order to spew out creativity and get new ideas flowing.

Alyssa Walker, is a self-proclaimed “writer, gelato-eater, and walker in LA” who has formed a blog all about walking in Los Angeles, complete with pictures of the “quintessential streets of LA.” She has also cofounded a program called GOOD ideas for cities, which helps present creative solutions to urban problems to public forums, most recently organizing an event called “Steal This Idea” where six creative teams addressed a multitude of issues in LA ranging from the public media to transportation.   She is also a part of Los Angeles Walks, a pedestrian advocacy organization and The Big Parade, an annual 40-mile walk through LA and the cities’ public stairways.

So what do these sidewalk shakers know that most automobile dwellers don’t’? Recent Stanford research tested 176 university students on their ability to produce new ideas by thinking of creative solutions while walking and sitting. Walking participants scored an average of 60 percent higher as creative thinking seemed to be increased while walking either outdoors or indoors. This inventiveness remained elevated for a short while after their walk.

A little stroll can be good for fresh air and fresh ideas, even in LA. As creative minds begin to incorporate more movement into their daily routines in novel ways with a walk more sit less attitude, one only hopes to join in on such a movement and “walk and talk” their way into a more creative, healthy, and happier state.

By Amiya Moretta

Harvard Business Review
The New York Times
Washington Post

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