Walking the Walk: 5 Key Steps to Going Deeper and Living Better

I took a long walk with a dear friend this weekend. We covered a lot of ground—five miles, as well as a thorough account of all that’s going on in our lives.  

These walks have become an every-other-weekend ritual for us, and something we both count on.

For years, we struggled to find the time to get together. Several months always slipped by between managing to meet for lunch or a glass of wine after work.

For those of us who are burning the candle at multiple ends—demanding careers, active families, and high expectations for ourselves—24 hours in a day rarely feels like enough. There aren’t easy answers to fitting it all in, but for me, walking has proven to be a solution that combines important goals and brings about far greater results than what tends to occur when sedentary.

Here are five areas of my life on which regular, intentional walking has had a profound effect:

1. Leadership

Weekly accountability sessions can sometimes feel unproductively stodgy or formal when communicating from behind a desk. One practice that I instituted among team members was a walking meeting. What a difference! Barriers came down. Conversations got real and we had the opportunity to move forward with issues that otherwise wouldn’t have been addressed; they would have remained stumbling blocks. At the same time, we got to breathe fresh air, fit in a little exercise, and listen to the birds. 

2.  Energy and CreativityPositive Attitude

Recently, I realized that feeling stuck on a work-related matter tended to coincide with a mid-afternoon energy slump. Rather than going out for a latte, grabbing a handful of chocolate, or choosing to get increasingly frustrated, I now time block for a 15-minute walk. Upon returning to my office, the challenge is often on the road to becoming solved, and my outlook is vastly improved.

3. Community

Last summer, a neighbor and I started walking a few nights every week. Along the way, we’d run into others and invite them to join us. That evolved into an open invitation. We meet at a designated spot, every Thursday at 7 p.m., and all are welcome. As a REALTOR®, this has been an incredibly effective means to meet my neighbors, learn about what’s going on in their lives and in the community, and discover ways where I can be of service.

Health and Friendship4. Health and Friendship

A group of friends used to meet about once a month for happy hour. It was fun, but the consumption of alcohol and unhealthy appetizers on a weeknight led to a suboptimal start to the next day. Who needs to sit inside when there are so many great options for walking? We now walk instead, about once a month, and return home refreshed, renewed, and supported by great conversations.

5.  Mindfulness

Walking ties in perfectly with a practice of mindfulness and a determination to pursue productive thoughts and positive energy. On any given walk, there’s the opportunity to either nurture negative thoughts, or instead, breathe deeply, listen closely, pay attention, and be completely in the moment.

What are you doing to get the most out of your day and bring greater productivity and positive energy into your life?  Whatever your path, the walk is much more fulfilling, productive, and fun when you have the advantage of expertise and accountability.

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