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WAL, acronym for Walk and Learn, is a group activity consisting in a simple barefoot walk

WAL, acronym for Walk and Learn, is a group activity consisting in a simple barefoot walk

1) Business Name and what it does

WAL, acronym for Walk and Learn, is a group activity consisting in a simple barefoot walk (on the special WAL carpet, designed and chosen for its softness and pleasantness) while listening to audiobooks of various cultural content (chosen from a catalogue of more than 200 original audios spanning a wide range of topics).

The audio contents are created by the WAL Organization and follow the highest listening criteria (the choice of the narrating voices, of music, of the selected stories and of the technology). The meticulous curation of these aspects aims to “train” the brain and to improve the cognitive skills of the person using neuroplasticity, a key concept of contemporary epigenetic medicine.

Thanks to the experimental study conducted by Prof. Massimo Piccirilli published in the medical

magazine European Journal of Ageing in February 2018, it’s been shown that practicing WAL

helps to prevent —and if the diagnosis is recent, to cure— the typical discomforts given by

neurodegenerative illnesses of the third age, such as Alzheimer, Parkinson, memory loss,

depression, fatigue, sleep disorders.

The idea of WAL was born from researches around the possibility of improving people

general wellness through the prevention of these illnesses. The great interest of American

medicine in the prevention of the third age illnesses derived from the profound distrust in

medicines — developed after the dissolution of the expectations previously placed into the new

pharmaceutical therapies against neurodegenerative illnesses, tumors, diabetes, mood

disorders, etc. The renewed interest in the concept of prevention lead to extremely important


In the main American Universities labs started to study the relation between the learning

processes and physical activity, and between mental abilities and physical performances (one of

the subject studied, for instance, was yoga). Researchers started to dive deeper into the

mechanisms with which students would increase or decrease their attention during class,

noticing if they were moving or staying still. The relation between movement and learning process was analyzed through computerized tomography and new digital technologies. 

The researchers observed that during any type of physical activity the brain releases neurotransmitters,

“enlightening” specific areas of the organ. Memory, focus, creativity, learning and cognition look highly improved and stimulated when the body is engaged in physical activity.

We see that movement, physical and mental, can be therapeutic in many aspects, and that

training the body and the mind at the same time with WAL can decrease our fatigue perception,

it can improve mental focus and gradually increase the performance level of athletic prowess

(avoiding the common incidents that can happen when starting to practice a new sport).

With WAL and under the guidance of the WAL trainers, each person can walk with its own

rhythm, increasing or decreasing speed and regulating their breath as they feel. WAL

practice fights with pleasantness the inactive lifestyle that is so widely spread in our society,

and that constitutes the primary cause of many illnesses and organic disorders. WAL motivates

us to continue the research path of the psycho-physical wellbeing expanding our body and

mental abilities, alongside our creativity.

Before the first Covid Lockdown in March 2020, WAL Organization had started 2 new studies

guided by Prof. Piccirilli within 2 schools located near Perugia (ITA), a primary school and a

high school. Students of ages 9-16 could try an alternative learning approach; walking and

listening to the AudioWAL they could move and they would have fun while paying attention to

the audio cultural contents. Having fun while learning can be a rare feeling, most of all for

students that are in the development age, but it’s an important element in the WAL practice, and

it reconciles the students to the idea of culture because they can experiment personal interest

beyond the typically scholastic fear of judgment. Having fun helps us to get to know ourselves

better and to dive deeper into our own inclinations —important psychological aspects during the

personality development phase.

After a few months of integrating WAL into the schools programs, several teachers noted a

general positive changing of students behavior, particularly regarding creativity and feelings

management. The positive changes were most visible in some of the high school students said to

be the most “difficult”. Kids with ADHD would highly benefit from practicing WAL, in fact they

became able to overcome school obstacles that were very problematic until then.

I would like to stress the fact that WAL trainers, who have been educated to welcoming people of

any age and background (Walk and Learn is suitable for people age 8 and up), are a key element

in WAL, most of all in creating the healthy environment that encourages people to practice Walk

and Learn at their best, and that motivates them to continue with the practice in the long term.

After having walked for about 40 minutes, we are used to relax with a simple stretching session

onto the carpet while sharing feelings and thoughts around the cultural contents listened in the

AudioWAL. This is a precious moment, when people benefit from the endorphins released

during the walk and can socialize. We call this “emotional stretching” —we can generously

allow ourselves this time as a reward for the activity done. The pleasantness of the time

dedicated to practice WAL is paramount for the efficacy of the practice itself.

Walking and listening to AudioWAL for about 40 minutes (or 20, for kids between 8 and 11 years

old) are activities that, when practiced at the same time, activate hormones, neurotransmitters,

synapsis, so that conditions of high focus, balance and self-awareness are manifested. Repeating

the practice in the long term helps to establish those special conditions, that contribute to

increase mental and physical skills.

2) Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business

The intuition of the great potential of the synergy contained in the WAL walk, that manifests

with the simultaneous physical and mental training, was born around 2013 from Neurology studies accomplished by Dr. Anma Crespi. The studies lead Anma to dive deeper into the numerous researches published by American universities in the last 30 years around the brain ability to regenerate itself through a healthy and active lifestyle.

Dr. Anma Crespi was teaching in High School since the 90’s, she first graduated in Letters

and Philosophy, and then she accomplished a Doctorate in Philosophy and Human Sciences.

Anma is the mother of Ruggero and Miriam, whom are today in their 30’s, and in 2011 she

obtained the international diploma of Life Coach, while in 2016 she obtained her second Degree

in Psychology. Following her passion for medical culture in general with a focus on

psychosomatic approach, for on-going learning methods, and for movement, Anma observed that

a healthy lifestyle can be declined into 3 dimensions: physical, mental and psychical (detachable

only on the abstract level since in reality they are inextricably connected).

With the study conducted by Prof. Massimo Piccirilli in 2016 we observed the first exciting

benefits of the WAL practice in a big group of people of 60 years old and up. The results pushed

us to experiment the cognitive training WAL realized by the listening of the AudioWAL in other

fields of movement, such as swimming, cross country skiing and stationary bicycle, sports that

allow listening in headphones (for swimming we bought underwater headphones and we started

offering them for free to all the local public swimming pools). The results were promising, most

of all with agonist swimmers engaged in long resistance swims. The boredom derived by the

repetitiveness of the trainings was brilliantly overcome thanks to the AudioWAL, and the

 enthusiasm of the athletes rewarded us with the new possibility of applying of WAL. An activity that

is perceived as monotonous usually results to be particularly suitable to the integration of the

WAL practice, because the multitasking experience becomes very easy.

3) The challenges the business/market is facing

The important challenges that WAL is facing are mainly 4:

A) WAL is not a new practice: one of the first challenges we had to confront ourselves with is offering a practice that is not

new. The idea that walking increases the human general well-being was discussed also by

Aristoteles who, walking in the Liceo portico, invented the Peripatetic School (Περιπατητική

Σχολή) in the third century B.C. He was the first one to associate thinking, teaching, creativity,

philosophizing and learning to the act of walking. We can observe that, often times, people start

walking while repeating a class content out loud to memorize it. Walking while thinking is an

instinctive movement, adopted also by professors (who mostly move when talking about a

particularly heart-felt topic).

We can see how when the mind is active, the body follows. Grater is the emotional

engagement, the greater the move. Therefore the WAL concept is not a novelty, but a facilitator.

B) Telling about the pleasantness of WAL learning is complicated, if not impossible, it must be

experienced! Practicing WAL makes life simpler, less heavy, because it pursues our instinct

towards a healthier lifestyle, serene, tranquil, aware, harmonic. Until you don’t experience it you

cannot acknowledge it. This is also the reason behind our offer of a free first trial; only curiosity

can lead people to try something new for free before they can familiarize with it and enjoy its

benefits directly.

C) The third important challenge for WAL consists in the fact that nowadays, unfortunately,

culture is out of fashion. Kids and adults read less, they attend less artistic and cultural events;

the on-going learning is usually compelled (for instance to teachers) and not very much looked

for. In fact, the few education programs that are successful are often times brief and finalized to

earning money, and not enhancing personal skills or developing skills obtained in the past.

Italian politics is cutting down funds to schools, to public education and to culture in general

(museums, theaters, movie theaters, artistic organizations and so on). The result is that all these

cultural platforms are in decay, as the content and style of the communication media. The

decadence is manifesting also in tourism and the economy. Consequently, nowadays it is difficult to

find people truly passionate about studying, learning, diving deeper into topics or dedicating

time to develop their training in any specific field. It is easy to find teachers, but not students.

Everyone wants to teach, but how many of them are willing to learn?

WAL was born within this challenging social frame and it introduces itself as “Moving Culture”.

Our discipline responds to ignorance and to the idea that culture is boring and static, similarly to

Don Quixote who fought the windmills. AudioWAL proudly recovers the classics and the forgotten works. Through the narration they became “materia viva”, living content, vibrant, enlightened, full of feelings and thoughts. Doing so wall is nonetheless anachronistic. 

D) The fourth challenge consist in the fact that WAL benefits cannot be targeted: it’s practically impossible to find a specific audience toward which channeling WAL’s offers. WAL is always appropriate, regardless of age, sex, economical and social background. There is not a specific WAL target. We saw incredibly rewarding results in different and numerous categories: pregnant women or women in menopause (about this topic you can see my interview for DonnaTV on blind people or people affected by hypo vision, big corporation teams (see ,, prisons inmates, children, adolescents, elderly people, athletes, clinics patients and many more.

The benefits of WAL are tangible in each of these groups, why should we limit ourselves with the definition of a target? Though not being able to find a specific target is not ideal for the market. WAL is nonconformist also in this aspect.

5) Advice to others about business

Walk And Learn has different projects in progress.

The most important one, at the moment, can be defined with the hashtag “Therapeutic Movement” that synthesizes our vision: movement (physical, mental, or psychic) is always therapeutic and beneficial. We gathered about 20 precious interviews to various professional figures, international known athletes, teachers of sports, acrobatic disciplines, martial arts,

dance and yoga, doctors, psychologists, therapists who explain how the idea of Therapeutic Movement becomes reality in their lives and with their profession. We aim for this concept to become a book to gift to others and to ourselves.

The second project consists in the opening of a beautiful WAL Center in Rome, where we can offer our Moving Culture at 360°, and where we can open the doors to an international audience (for instance offering AudioWAL in other languages besides Italian). We had found the right place before the first Covid Lockdown, now we just have to reach back the contacts and work on the collaborations started 2 years ago. Observing the Fitness market we see that it is a market in development, perhaps even the most promising one at the moment. Once we open the WAL location in Rome, it will be easier to start the third project which is the one of a WAL Franchising, coherent with the characteristics of easy replicability and sustainability

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