Walking is Medicine

The joy of setting out on two feet by Ruth Williams

Hear more from Ruth Williams here - a podcast feature by Martin Bamford

Walk away from it all
Walking can be an active meditation. It soothes the mind, awakens the body and calms the soul. Phones off, with curious seeking through every sense turned on. Striding out on two feet is something Department store for the mind would like to be part of everyone’s daily doings.

Walking in the rain
We were delighted to find a partner this year who shared our love of setting out on two feet. The gentle strength and magical insight of Kate Adams at Octopus Books has nurtured our creativity and moulded it into one of two wonderful books, Walking in the Rain. The pages are filled with illustrations, photography and stories about walking and the mind. We collaborated with some amazing people who shared their experiences and offered their daily habits.

Be curious
Clare Barry writes about being curious in the city. She encourages you to slow down, wander without hesitation and simply notice. One sense at a time play with what you see, hear, smell, touch and maybe even taste. Observe nature but also draw towards people’s creations. Notice how time and aging brings beauty. Feel free to rest on a simple detail without a care for time.

Daily essentials
A little walking everyday with phones off and senses on can bring a healing calm. Katie Steel, writes about how walking is essential. Her partner drops her off in the countryside each morning so she simply has to walk to work. She shares how her observations and feelings morph and change with the seasons. The daily habit brings immeasurably benefits for her mind yet barely interrupts her daily routine.

Creativity
We are a little obsessed with this amazing piece of research by Stanford University. It comes up all over the book. We worked with organisations for years who spent thousands of pounds developing innovation, which has creativity at its heart. Imagine how much they could have saved by just suggesting their employees went out for a stroll.

Walking meetings
Have you ever experienced a one-to-one meeting with your manager in a small windowless air-conditioned room where you discussed your future aspirations and past performance? Now re-imagine the same meeting taking place as you and the same manager walked together side by side outside, perhaps along the river, discussing your future plans? Many organisations now do this – the walking meeting. I write about how it can happen and how to avoid the pitfalls. It sounds kind of funny but it really does work!