How To Walk While You’re Working

I walked along the Great Lake near our home in the Market Common District of Myrtle Beach, SC and wondered how many others were doing the same thing I was doing. Oh sure, there were quite a few people walking which was technically the same thing, but not quite. Some were running. Others were on bikes. A few were even sitting on the benches along the paved path.

Listen to article

It was a rhetorical question, “How many others are doing the same thing?” because there was no way to really know.

I’ve previously written that one of the reasons we moved here from Maryland was to live in a place that allows for a more naturally active lifestyle. The weather is warmer and it’s so much easier to walk out our front door and go for a walk, run, or bike ride. We’re enjoying this!

This move also lets me work at home for the first time in my life. It is ironic that while so much of the world started doing this when the pandemic broke out, I continued doing my job on-site at the radio station. That part of my life didn’t change until we moved. Now, I have a home office and studio and love this new way of working.

As I walked along the lake, I was wearing my AfterShokz headphones listening to a radio station in Florida. I suspect no one else was doing that, but it still wasn’t really the heart of my question.

The following week, I would return to Maryland to lead our team through our on-air Spring Fundraiser. A significant part of the revenue for my radio station is provided by our generous listeners. We do run commercials, but not many. Listener donations allow us to provide a better experience for them.

As you can imagine, there’s an art and science to fundraising. I won’t bore you with details, but every fundraiser is different and requires a tremendous amount of planning and flexibility. I’m responsible for both and it’s always extremely helpful to hear other stations doing their fundraisers. It allows me to reverse engineer what they are doing and the response they are getting.

That’s why I was listening to this station in Florida. We have similar formats and they were doing their Spring Fundraiser the week before we did ours. It was a great opportunity to fine-tune the planning and hear where I might need to adjust.

In other words…I was working.

I wondered how many others were doing the same thing. How many others were walking while they worked?

If you became untethered from an office, have you considered doing some of your work while you walk? Obviously, there are limits to the types of work you can do as you move, but it might be more than you realize.

And, it’s worth noting, the advantages of working while you walk are more than physical. There is research indicating movement helps us think better. If your job requires brain power, you might actually become a more valuable employee if you do this.

Here are five opportunities to walk while you work:

MEETINGS

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, was famous for his walking meetings. He was often seen walking around the Apple campus with other people. Who knows how many of the Apple devices we’ve come to love were created and fine-tuned during these walking meetings.

I particularly enjoy talking with colleagues while I walk. Because I live hundreds of miles away, my walking meetings are always done on the phone. I used to hate talking on the phone while I walked because it got physically tiring holding the phone to my ear. But, getting the AfterShokz headphones was a game changer. 

Now, I enjoy meetings and find that I’m actually more focused as we talk. I also don’t feel the need to end the meeting as fast as possible. I don’t sit well and that became a challenge for me during long meetings. If I can walk while we meet, you’ve got my attention for a long time.

PROBLEM SOLVING

I’ve written extensively about this benefit of walking. Without even knowing the research, I discovered the most effective way for me to solve problems was to get up and move.

I’ll give you a recent example. Part of my job is a new podcast for the radio station. It’s called Long Story Short. Each episode is a different story about something interesting that is helping me live a more intentional life. I wasn’t happy with the ending of one of the episodes. It felt contrived. That’s a problem.

Much of my work with the podcast is done sitting. That’s how I write, record, edit, and produce each episode. But, when there’s a problem, like the ending that didn’t feel right, I know I won’t find the solution starting at a computer screen.

So, I got up and started moving so I could think through different options. It took about 20 minutes of walking when I finally solved the problem. When I returned to my home office, I rewrote the ending, recorded it the next day, and the finished episode is one of my favorites.

Every job has unique challenges. Is it possible for you to get up and walk while you’re trying to solve the problems you are facing?

CREATIVE IDEAS

I love the study conducted by a Stanford researcher a few years ago. She wanted to know what was better for finding creative ideas…sitting or walking. You can check out the details HERE, but the conclusion was walking is better than sitting if you need a creative idea.

And, the research focuses on walking because it’s physical movement that also allows your mind the freedom to explore. Other types of exercise often require us to think about what we’re doing, but walking is different.

The research also discovered that walking was particularly effective if our creativity is focused. If you need to brainstorm a blank canvas, sitting is good. But, if you have something specific that needs creativity you’ll do better if you get up and walk.

PLANNING

There was a lot of planning involved in our move from Maryland to South Carolina. The shear tonnage of details involved was both expected and unexpected. Every time we started working through an aspect of the transition a bunch of unexpected questions popped up that had to be worked through.

Thankfully, I could walk. Much of our move was game-planned while Ava and I were walking through the neighborhood. This was not a surprise, as we had already done the same thing two years earlier when Ava was diagnosed with breast cancer. We walked and talked our way through plans for her treatment, recovery, and “what if” scenarios.

As we were getting the house ready to sell for our move along with other aspects, I did my weekly planning while I walked. Once I had a game plan in my head I would write it down. I do the same thing for work today. I walk while I think about what I need to accomplish and then write it down when I’m in my home office.

If your job requires planning, why not take a walk while you think through what’s coming up and what you need to do. You may discover it’s more effective than just sitting at your computer or with your paper calendar.

LEARNING

I’m grateful that my employer advocates life-long learning. This includes both formal and informal learning. Listening to that radio station in Florida while they were conducting their fundraiser was a form of learning. Listening to podcasts is another way I learn.

If your job requires continually expanding your knowledge and skill set, can some of that be done as you walk? Reading is a significant way I’ve learned my entire life. Now with audio books, I can learn while I walk. I also find that my mind is less prone to wander if I’m walking while reading. I have a much harder time sitting and reading for long stretches.

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT TODAY

If you have a job that allows you the freedom and flexibility to get up and move, I want to challenge you to try something different today. Choose one of these five different ways you can work while you walk and see if it makes a positive difference.

Of course, there’s also the physical benefits of walking too. If you are walking a mile in 20 minutes or less, you are moving at what the CDC considers a moderate pace. Do this often enough and you’re also unlocking a world of health benefits!

But, just like every other form of exercise you need to develop the physical capacity to make this a regular part of your life. That requires some intentionality and going about it the right way.

If you would like to transform your walking into a fitness activity that can also improve your work then I suggest you The 30 Day Fitness Challenge. This free guide will get you started in a manner that will help you develop a habit that eventually creates fitness momentum. And, momentum is the key to exercise that sticks! 

If you don’t have a Fitbit I recommend the Fitbit Inspire 2! The Inspire 2 has double the battery life, and also tracks your heart rate and sleep so you get an even wider picture of your fitness progress. This is also the Fitbit I use to track my steps every day!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_7160-1024x754.jpg

(By the way…if you use the link above to buy a Fitbit Inspire 2 this blog will receive a small commission. It won’t add anything to what you pay, but letting you know is the right thing to do)

I also recommend subscribing to this blog for weekly encouragement and motivation. Establishing and maintaining a fitness habit is not easy. Receiving a regular article to help you keep moving forward might be the difference maker you need. To subscribe simply click FOLLOW (to the right if you’re reading on a computer or below if you’re on your phone)