Working While You Walk
After I stopped walking competitively, my challenge was to find a time in my schedule that would allow me to be consistent. I love to walk in the mornings but it isn’t always an ideal time. I intensely dislike walking in the early evenings because there are too many cars on the streets polluting the air, too many people lingering on the sidewalk not to mention unleashed dogs. I rarely walk alone at night because it is not the safest time of the day and I want to enjoy my walk rather than worry about the motives of passersby. Then it hit me. Walk at work!
During the time when I worked in an office, I would frequently walk by myself. However, now that I am an entrepreneur, I regularly conduct meetings while walking. We all have busy schedules so you, too, may find that walking during your lunch hour is the perfect time to exercise. I found by meeting during a lunch walk, I encounter fewer interruptions, distractions from my computer and smartphone including other work that demands my attention. Because of the way I absorb information, my conversation and thought process flourishes. The fresh air rejuvenates me and stimulates my creativity. Getting out of the office setting can be conducive to connecting with people in a different light. It can also strengthen relationships with team members and help foster new ones across your organization.
By now, we have all heard that walking is wonderful for your health. As a matter of fact, I have promoted 5k walks and festivals. Aside from it being a fun activity, walking just 30 minutes a day, five days a week can improve your health in so many ways. Research has shown that regular brisk walking lowers blood pressure and heart rate, plus the endorphin rush from walking decreases the effects of depression. Walking reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease by 40 percent, you can lose weight and it’s probably one of the most inexpensive sports you can participate in on a daily basis.
Here are a few tips if you are interested in walking while you work.
- Prepare a tote bag and keep it at your office. My bag included a washcloth, soap or body wash, deodorant, workout clothes, cap, sneakers. Clothes can include a T-shirt, yoga pants, visor or cap.
- Make the most effective use of your time by charting your route a day before you begin walking. This can eliminate trying to decide which way you will walk thereby eating up your time during your lunch period. By knowing your route in advance, you will also know how many miles you can walk within a specific period of time. Some suggestions can be a park, a quiet street or just a destination that ends in picking up lunch or coffee. You can also use your pedometer to challenge yourself or your team by increasing your steps from your last meeting.
- Include time to change your clothes before and after walking. If your lunch break is only an hour long, allow 15 minutes before and after you walk to change your clothes and freshen up. If you are conducting a walking meeting, then you my have more time to transition back to work.
- If you decide to walk at work, the lunch hour is the best time. After work, people have plans, children, school and are unlikely to be consistent during this time.
- Only certain meetings are fit for walking. The ones that work best are more conversational, such as check-ins, brainstorms, “getting to know you,” or shared problem-solving sessions. This is not the time for discipline or negotiations.
- As with any productive meeting, it’s always a good idea to conclude your walk-and-talk with a summary of how each participant is going to follow up.
Every time I return from a walking meeting, I feel fabulous, refreshed and energized. I am able to focus on the task at hand, my thoughts are clear and I can accomplish work while getting a workout. Even if I walk alone, it is a precious and productive time because I come back with resolutions to pressing problems and that energizes me to take positive action to move forward toward my goal. Try it. You might like it.