Walking for productivity & well-being at work

walking

As an entrepreneur I lead a busy life just like many of you. We all have 1000 things to do every day and it always seems like there are not enough hours in 1 day. Our natural response to this is to start working and glue ourselves to our desks for 8 to 12 or more hours a day. Doing so gives us the false impression that this is the way to move forward in our professional life. But nothing is more UNTRUE.

Our world is suffering from sitting disease. The average entrepreneur or office worker gets in between 3000 to 5000 steps a day! And why? Because we are busy and because we want to get more work done. Actually this way of thinking is in fact counterproductive for both your productivity levels AND it also will seriously compromise your level of wellbeing in the workplace and in life in general.

Introducing my proven method which is founded upon a combination of walking outside and taking more steps throughout the day can help you to not only feel better both physically and mentally BUT will also help you to get more things done.

Prolonged sitting leads to poor blood flow to the brain making you feel tired and sluggish. Result: you think you are getting things done but actually you are SLEEPWORKING!

Getting small bursts of movement throughout the day doing a quick walk around the block or getting some steps in for an activity that you normally do sitting, your body is able to maintain optimal circulation to the brain, which is linked to improved cognitive function. Pumping around oxygen rich blood to your brain is scientifically proven to positively influence your work performance. It will also augment your wellbeing level as taking yourself away from the desk reduces feelings of overwhelm which drains your energy and leads to exhaustion and burnout.

The health consequences of poor activity levels are very high leading to: heart problems, being overweight, diabetes, sleep problems, poor immunity, … and so on and we all know that these are factors that lead to more absence at work.

My method relies on 2 factors: walking and getting more steps in. The walking factor will improve your overall health condition and will take you away from your desk for healthy movement and a mental break. (not a breakdown LOL but to prevent one). Taking more steps will keep your body and brain active throughout the day keeping blood flow to your brain and your metabolism high. Of course I also incorporate healthy food, snacks, toning exercises & mindset-work to deliver an allround method that covers it all. But walking and steps are the foundation and the secret behind my method. Did you know that walking makes you live longer? Check my article on that here. My method is all about doing: so here are some of my practical tips to make this your new habit.

WALKING

  • Instead of sitting for that brainstorm session go for a walk. You will not only get some fresh air and natural light but also be more creative in your thinking.
  • Walking together can also help improve the relationships with your collagues. Getting up every now and then will make it more likely for you to bump into a colleague for a quick talk and when you are the CEO or in charge of a team it will certainly lead to more relaxed conversations making the atmosphere pleasant to work in which also helps the feelgood factor and eventually productivity at work.
  • Have a difficult conversation with a co-worker? Do it while taking a walk outside in fresh air. When walking with someone your bodies will start mimicking each other’s walking pattern and will get you on “the right foot”.
  • Lunch and coffee breaks: instead of moving your ass from one chair to another in the cafeteria or kitchen: go for a 10 or 20 minute walk. Walking meetings are a great way to bolster productivity, too. When two people take a walking meeting, typical hierarchical work distinctions that you might observe when they are sitting across from each other in an office or conference room are less obvious. This sets people at ease and creates a positive atmosphere, leading to honest conversations and higher levels of engagement.
  • When you are tired: don’t do the usual run to the coffee machine but go outside and do a 5-minute brisk walk.

MORE STEPS

  • Make it a habit to get up from your desk at least once an hour preferably more
  • Drink more water which will make you “go” more and often and when you do then use the bathroom on another floor
  • If you print use a printer from another division: that way you will also get to know colleagues in other departments and get your steps in at the same time
  • Do your phonecalls when pacing around the hallway
  • ALWAYS use the stairs and ditch the elevator: ask to put an out-of-order sign up to prevent you from taking the easy route
  • Do some light stretching when standing up
  • In stead of coffee: walk in place or do some jumping jacks – you will have more energy to complete your tasks afterwards
  • Sit on an exercise ball
  • Walk to a colleague instead of mailing or texting: this will also reduce the amount of unnecessary and unproductive messages and help you to get more things done
  • Talk more, mail less in general: so many messages take way more time than a quick phone call. Having an empty mailbox at the end of the day will also give you a more relaxed feeling.

I guess you get my message: make a commitment to yourself to walk more and get in more steps. You will feel so much better and you will get more things done at work. Schedule your walking breaks like you would schedule an important meeting and stick to the plan! Scheduling and time-blocking moments throughout the day where you take a short walking break is the secret to making it your lifestyle. If you want to thrive at work you will have to take more YOU time. Hence the name of this blog and my social media channel @takeyoutimeblog  

If you are the CEO: lead by example and WALK THE TALK by being more active yourself and encourage your employees which are your most important asset to make movement and walking a part of their schedule. You will reap the rewards later as you will have a team of happy people surrounding you feeling happy and full of energy to get work done with a smile. Your company will benefit from it!

Wishing you all a happy and productive day.

Lies Helsloot, health & wellness influencer from Belgium, keynote speaker and CEO of Take You Time Health Coaching and the Belgian hairbrush brand Delphin & Emerence.

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