Walking Meetings Make Us Happier

Two women talk while walking together


Fleet Feet CEO Joey Pointer poses inside a store

"Our company manifesto says we want to bring a nation to its feet. So, it seems appropriate that we should be moving,” says Joey Pointer, the CEO of Fleet Feet Sports. Pointer recently started taking some of his daily meetings on a walk as a way to—both literally and figuratively—move everyone in the brand in one direction, together.

“Sitting across from someone in a board room is intimidating. There’s a barrier between the two of you,” says Pointer. “When you walk together, you’re side by side.”

Plus, Pointer says he finds that walking distracts the mind, which helps to dispel nervous energy and set the stage for a more comfortable, relaxed conversation. While Pointer’s meetings are a perfect display of the Fleet Feet Sports culture, a raft of research also supports his initiative.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, found that walking boosts your ability to come up with creative ideas and solutions dramatically. A separate study from 2016 revealed that even a boring stroll could make you happier. Plus, walking helps you find pause in nature, tap into the present moment, and find a sense of unity with your co-workers. On top of all of this, it's a sure-fire way to shake out after your morning run or loosen up before a post-work jaunt.

Ready to take your next meeting outside and down the street? Pointer offers these tips to make the most of your time:

  • Find a route with water and a restroom. It’s nice to stop on hot days to drink water or use the restroom.
  • Use walking meetings to explore an idea. Sometimes you need whiteboards, paper, or a computer to review information—these are not walking meetings. Walking meetings should be meetings where you're exploring an idea and thinking through a new concept.
  • Keep it to an hour. I like my meeting to be over when the walk is over because we can finish the walk and move on without the awkward getup-and-leave moments often experienced in a boardroom setting.
  • Check the weather and plan ahead. If it’s hot, go towards the end of the day, so if the person you’re meeting with gets sweaty, they don’t have to hang around the office sticky and uncomfortable for several hours.
  • Reserve walking meetings for one-on-one time. It’s a great way to authentically get to know someone and understand what they're thinking about and working on.

Want to learn about more ways to get up and move throughout your day? Check out our post about how to sit less and feel better.