As National Walking Month draws to a close…
…I genuinely hope that you?ve been encouraged to get outside and, perhaps, share that time with the people you care about, either at home or work.
Here’s some ways I’ve found to build walking into everyday life.
When I work with organisations, one of the things I hope to leave them with is the habit of walking meetings whenever a computer isn’t needed.
My experience is that not only does the action of walking make the meeting more relaxed, creative and effective, the changing scenery helps me remember the actions. And, if I really need a note of the meeting, I use my phone to record the key points.
Have a lunch break
It’s almost never a good idea not to take a lunch break.
Getting away from my desk and, ideally, into some green space is one of the best ways to feel restored, refreshed and more efficient.
Just 20 minutes walk helps me achieve the deadline that was preventing me from taking a break in the first place!
Park the other side of the car park
Whenever I pull into a car park, unless I have very heavy bags, I always look to park in the furthest spot from the door. In this way I add a couple of extra minutes’ walking time into my life. That little breathing space allows me to arrive wherever I’m going in a better place to meet others.
I truly believe that important conversations are best had outside, while walking. When we walk with someone, we automatically fall into step which helps to naturally create rapport.
If I’m discussing something contentious, the movement and environment can be relaxing and bring about a greater feeling of support. If it’s an option I’d always encourage these kinds of conversation to be had in a green space.
Walk for fitness
I’ve done a bit of jogging in my life, including the London Marathon as a 40th birthday present to myself.
These days I prefer to walk as it requires a lot less organisation and can easily fit into my day. I don’t have to worry about when I last ate or how I’m going to have a shower. I can tag it on to virtually any part of my day and a brisk walk has me feeling as strong and refreshed as when I used to jog.
At the weekend I usually plan to have one reasonably long walk just for the sake of it.
Walk for stillness
As well as walking for fitness, these days I also walk for head space.
Three years ago I made a commitment to myself to walk for at least 20 minutes a day, and the way in which I walk depends on what I need. Sometimes it can be at a brisk pace, to raise my heartbeat, and sometimes it’s a gentle stroll simply to notice what I notice.
Tuning into my senses and observing what nature has to offer makes up part of my mindfulness practice. It has me experience more joy and feel less stressed.