The inundation of wearable fitness technology has focused primarily on the measurement of your daily step count, although at Pro-Fit we want you to think different. It’s what happens in those ‘10,000’ steps that we find fascinating.
At a Functioning level, most of our clients are well aware of the importance of reducing their sitting time throughout their workday. By integrating more simple movement such as walking into your day, you increase muscular contractions that result in the improved clearing of blood fats and excess blood glucose, improving peripheral blood flow and reducing blood pressure. Recent research, from a study conducted at the University of Utah School of Medicine, showed that just a 2 minute walk every hour can reverse the negative health effects of prolonged sitting. A walk is also a great way to boost your energy and overcome the common early afternoon energy dip, as well as creating a greater physiological need for deep rejuvenating sleep. The opposite of sleep is not wakefulness, it’s actually movement.
Although the above mentioned ‘Functioning’ benefits are mostly wellness related and have a delayed benefit, often our clients are much more motivated to walk more throughout their day when they experience the immediate benefits of optimizing their brain agility, creativity, focus and overall performance. With the right brain controlling the left side of our body, and vice versa, taking a short walk stimulates often underutilized parts of the brain, assisting you to view problems from a different perspective, with enhanced creativity, deeper understanding and potentially more of a solution focus. In fact, by increasing the blood flow to these often neglected areas of the brain you can not only reduce the risk of memory loss and slow down the symptoms of alzeihemers, but also dramatically improve your mood. A study published in the Journal of Pyschosomatic Medicine revealed exercise to be equally as effective in reducing depression than anti-depressant medication, and without any of the negative side-affects.
When it comes to your critical must-win events, having a short walk before you enter the boardroom, or before giving a presentation, will give you the time to set clear intentions, mentally visualize and pre-play both successful outcomes and possible scenarios. By briefly reflecting on past successful experiences, we can maximize our self confidence and even improve our brain plasticity by remembering that we’ve been here before and that we are in control.
Many of our Coaching clients use a simple walk to create the space and time to build upon their Mindset strategies. Finding a quiet place to visualize on upcoming events or purposefully reflect on past events can be difficult when you are being consistently interrupted and at the mercy of those around you.
Knowing the individual brain benefits of taking a walk, we think walking meetings where you and a colleague can both come at problem from a different perspective, while getting the other mentioned benefits
Some ideas on how to intergrate a walk into your day:
_Realize it doesn’t have to be long – kick start the habit by starting with 5-10 minutes.
_Always choose the stairs as a way to energize your body and improve brain performance.
_Have a walking meeting – Zuckerberg, President Obama and the late Steve Jobs all are famous for their fondness of walking meetings.
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
By Chris Males – Originally written for TIGNUM