Walk Your Way to Fitness and Professional Success
As you may be aware, Rob O’Byrne recently returned from his second walking odyssey along the Spanish Camino de Santiago. Now that’s a long walk and regardless of what Rob would have you believe, it’s my bet that he spent at least some of that time in work mode … even if imperceptibly so.
Why do I say this?
Well, as Rob rightly points out, a good walk is a great way to take time out, but it’s also a great physical accompaniment to professional activities … such as thinking. In fact, if you are a busy professional—one of those who has “no time” to think about exercise and fitness—walking is the answer.
Walking in Work Mode
When you take a walk, you can not only think about staying healthy, you can actually do it, without losing an ounce of productivity—that is, if you really can’t bring yourself to switch off for a while (which you absolutely should do, but that’s a topic for a future post).
To reinforce the point and hopefully inspire you to get your walking shoes on at least a couple of times a week, here are a few ways you can enjoy walking and working at the same time. Some of them can even be instrumental in improving your professional performance as well as taking care of your cardio needs.
Take Learning Steps
Podcasts, audio-books, MP3 language courses … today’s technologies make it easy to improve your knowledge without tying up all your cognitive functions. What better way to aurally absorb some fresh knowledge than to do so while out for a walk in the fresh air?
My guess is that you probably wouldn’t think twice about picking up a call on your mobile phone while walking to your next meeting. Picking up your smart phone and going for a walk is no different and instead of fielding phone calls, you can spend the duration of your walk learning something that will help you advance your career.
However, if you simply must take business calls everywhere and anywhere, you might like the next tip.
Wind-down and Phone-up
You know all those voicemails you receive: the calls you have to return at some convenient point in the day? Why not save them up and then make them all while taking a stroll? This can be a great way to stay focused on your calls, because you have no other work distractions and at the same time, you’re getting some valuable exercise and the chance to wind down and enjoy the outdoors.
Walk Your Way Through Conference Calls
Similar to the previous tip above, there’s often no need to sit at a desk if you’re participating in a conference call. So unless you’ll be sharing some visual media online during the call, try taking a walk in a quiet area, such as a park or in the countryside while participating in phone meetings.
If you’ve ever sat at the roadside in your car while taking part in conference calls, you’ll know that walking is just as doable—and a whole lot more interesting.
Work Walking: A Realistic Way to Multitask
Anyone with a little knowledge of psychology will tell you that humans are not effective when it comes to multi-tasking. However, walking uses completely different cognitive processes to those required for most work tasks, so it can be considered an exception to the rule.
The irony of mobile technology is that it actually enables us to work while on the go. So why not leverage it to get some exercise and stay productive at the same time?
Research has shown that walking is beneficial exercise for the brain as well as the heart, so by taking regular walks while getting things done, you’re potentially improving your memory and thinking skills too.
If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to test out the benefits of walking for yourself. Whether you do it to switch off, or stay tuned in to your work, you’ll be doing your body and mind a big favour and you might really enjoy it too.
Who knows? It may even become a passion and before you know it, you’ll be racking up the miles on a long distance trail in some foreign land—just like Rob Lessons on the Camino de Santiago.