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Shall we take this outside?

A recent study in Australia has shown that spending time outside can significantly benefit physical and mental health. Ok, ok, I can see your eyes rolling – this is not ‘new’ news. What is new is the swathes of workers who are adapting their 9-5’s in order to embrace the great outdoors, using the benefits that nature brings to tackle work-related problems.

In our episode 9 of our podcast, Ben and Al speak to Jon Johnson, an organisation development guru who has pioneered a novel way of overcoming the metaphorical ‘brick wall’ that many of his clients face when trying to solve issues in the office. A keen mountaineer in his student days, Jon compares the notion of running a business with the idea of going on a physical journey.

When we climb to the top of a mountain, the view that greets us can offer an incredible perspective which we didn’t necessarily have at the start. In order to apply this metaphor to real-life, Jon invites his clients to join him on a walk – an actual walk – that involves some decision-making and trouble-shooting along the way but will ultimately result in a great view and a much clearer perspective on the business issues in question.

This concept is not dissimilar to the global movement, Street Wisdom, a social enterprise with ‘a mission to bring inspiration to every street on earth.’  These walking adventures are led by volunteer facilitators or if you can’t attend a workshop you can download the audio guide. In just three hours of walking and wandering, participants have ‘resolved problems that have dogged them for years, found new business ideas, changed careers, discovered new directions, and learned how to deal differently with living, learning and loving.’

Research shows that increasing urbanisation has led to cities becoming ‘epicentres for chronic, non-communicable physical and mental health conditions’. Green spaces are crucial in combatting the health threats that urban lifestyles pose. And for those of us stuck in sedentary jobs, it has been proven that by visiting outdoor, green spaces for 30 minutes or more, at least once a week, can reduce high blood pressure in a community by 9% and depression by 7%.

What are you waiting for? I’ll get my coat…

Photo credit: Helen Creese, Baynhams Copse