I’ve worn trainers as part of my active commute to work for pretty much all of my working life. Why? Because quite simply, trainers are my default footwear of choice, always. And in a time and age when every minute counts, they help me walk a hell of a lot faster than any of my other shoes! After suffering a bad stress fracture in my early twenties, I’ve endeavoured to look after my feet and have pretty much abandoned the heels ever since.
Last week I broke all corporate fashion codes and wore my Converse to work, keeping them strapped to my feet ALL DAY. Heaven. Despite the double takes and funny looks of fashion conscious colleagues, I couldn’t help but notice that I seemed to walk and ‘bounce’ more frequently that day than other typical days in the office. I genuinely felt the desire to move more and admittedly probably undertook the odd unnecessary journey around the floor just to feel the freedom in my feet! Could it be that there was a psychological effect to my feet sitting snug, laced up, cushioned in my pumps?!
Well, indeed, there is such a thing. In 2012, Adam and Galinsky published their theory of ‘enclothed cognition’ which recognised how clothes systematically influence wearers’ mental processes. The study reported positive effects on abilities when participants wore a lab coat, and I guess the same principles can be applied to sportswear. The researchers attribute the positive findings to the symbolic meaning and experience that we associate with particular items of clothing. Applied to sportswear, when we wear athletic clothing, it’s probable that we are more likely to choose to be active and lean towards fitness. Apparently, there are similar parallels to watch-wearers as research indicates that wearing a watch is a sign of conscientiousness. Although, it’s not quite clear whether being conscientious inclines somebody to wear a watch, or whether wearing a watch encourages conscientiousness! Either way, it’s clearly a marker for personality and as a compulsive watch-wearer and rather diligent human being myself, it must be true!
Joking aside, whether commuting to work or walking the dog, we need to keep moving. And to do that on a practical, everyday level we need active footwear to accompany it. The time has come to relax on the traditional corporate dress code, challenge social norms and stick on those sneakers!
And why stop there?!
Last week I bought myself a ‘corporate rucksack’ – oh yes. I am acutely aware that I lug a lot of ‘stuff’ around on a daily basis from one site to another, so it’s been on the cards for a while. But the real reason I’ve made the switch from handbag to backpack is because I honestly believe that it will encourage me to be more active.
I am very fortunate to work in Greater Manchester surrounded by the Mobike bike sharing system. Ashamedly, I have yet to use one, but now I have my backpack there’ll be no stopping me! I have now downloaded the app and have found myself analysing other more experienced users to see how they get on, so it’s only a matter of time before I take the plunge!
….stay tuned for the next blog: a blow by blow account of my first Mobike experience. I’m sure there’d be enough material in there! 🙂
Adam, H. Galinsky, A.D. (2012) Enclothed cognition. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 48 (4), pp.918-925.
Ellis, D.A. Jenkins, R. (2015) Watch-wearing as a marker of conscientiousness. PeerJ. 3:e1210.