Special thanks to my incredible co-workers and core walking crew members who reluctantly agreed to be photographed! You guys rock!!!
I have always been an all or nothing type person. I know that’s not always good – especially when it comes to fitness. If I don’t have an hour or more to devote to working out, I simply tell myself that I don’t have time to do it. That philosophy has proven to be detrimental to my health recently as I have become accustomed to simply not focusing on fitness at all, and blaming it on the time factor.
That all changed with a stroke of unexpected luck. Last May, I won a fitbit at an event. Meh. I wasn’t overly excited but I slapped the thing on, and much to my surprise – I learned that I was maybe walking, on average, less than 2,800 steps a day. Yikes! The recommended daily average is 10,000.
That was the wakeup call I needed. That truly scared me and I knew I had to make a change – but with a stressful job, two kids and two side hustles – the time factor issue was not going to change.
So instead – I decided what did have to change was my mindset about working out. First thing – I couldn’t think of it as working out, but rather MOVING. I had to start moving. Much more.
So, at the beginning of June, I made a commitment to myself - I vowed to find timeslots during the day (no matter what the interval) where I could simply walk. And I put no restrictions or boundaries on this. And here is what ended up happening.
- I now often walk in the morning (when I get to work)
For all of us with kids, who are we kidding? We have these grand ideas of getting up early and working out before their eyeballs even think about opening. But that doesn’t happen. So, I had to stop pretending this was realistic for me and I had to find a new way to move in the morning. Typically, I get into work pretty early, enjoy my coffee, read the morning news and get a jump on my emails. Not anymore – now I spend the first 10 minutes of my day walking around the neighborhood. Just ten minutes – but it typically gives me well over 1,000 steps!
- I schedule walking meetings
I don’t think this went over so well in the beginning but for short check in meetings, I often ask people if we can walk and talk. Some didn’t seem so enthused but overtime, now I see others doing it or sending me meeting invites for them. It’s a great way to get your creative juices flowing and to actually see the sunlight during the workday!
- We take walking lunches
There are about eight of us who try to walk together at least three times a week. We have mapped out a mile walk (that takes about 18 minutes) and that’s how we start off our lunch break. There are days when it is just two of us and days where we all eight of us are fighting for sidewalk space - either way, it’s absolutely refreshing!
- I developed an Early Ending Policy
If you’re like me, you are often stuck in conference rooms and offices with no windows for most of your day. Meetings often run long but there are those rare and glorious times when they end early. So, I made a rule for myself. If that happens – I walk for the rest of the time scheduled. Sometimes my meetings only end a few minutes early so I take a few laps around my office before heading back to my computer. But hey – I am MOVING.
- I Stopped Emailing So Much
Wouldn’t you know – you can actually cut down on the ridiculous amounts of emails you get a day if you simply walk over and talk to someone. And I found by doing this, I was adding an average of about 200 steps to my daily routine – and cutting my emailing down significantly (double reward).
I also set a personal goal of hitting at least 4,000 steps before I left work each day. For me, this ensured that I would be able to hit my 10,000 steps and gave me motivation to walk the remaining 6,000 each night.
Now, yes – I do understand that the cold, Cleveland winter is coming. But many of us have talked about that and have said that we plan to dress a bit warmer for the office, bring our walking boots and our North Face jackets in daily and we will walk for as long as physically possible. It might not be for as long and as far as it was in the summer, but we are okay with that. It’s still moving!
So what are the benefits?
- I have lost 10 pounds in three months. Now, that was never the intention – but I will take it.
- My eating habits at work have changed. Our walking group is far less prone to coming back and scarfing down pizza after a brisk walk. We’ve started bringing in healthy snacks that we share and often someone even brings in a prepared meal for the group full of vegetables and protein.
- I have more ideas. When I can’t come up with a creative idea, after my walk – I’m full of them. The fresh air brings fresh ideas!
- My patience level is a lot higher – I am a high-energy person and I can get frustrated when things aren’t happening at the pace that I would like. Now that I walk often, I find that frustration doesn’t rear its head nearly as often. I feel much more relaxed.
It’s truly changed everything for me. I am more connected to my colleagues, I have more energy and I love the example I am setting for others. So if you are like me – and struggle to find that much needed MOVING time in your life – consider what you can do to incorporate it into your day job.
I know it’s not easy – so remember, shift your mindset about moving. And take it one step at a time!