I never want to go on my lunchtime walk.
“I’m too busy!” I exclaim dramatically to my fiancée when he asks if I’ve got time for a stroll.
“Sorry hun, I just can’t fit in our walk today,” I text my friend, on whom I’ve cancelled twice already this week.
I don’t always start the day that way.
Each morning, on my coffee outing, I’m confident about my ability to commit to a lunchtime movement sesh. I gush over the glorious outdoors. I bask in the warmth of the early sun, shielding my eyes from the glare as it glistens on the water. I CAN’T WAIT for my lunchtime walk. It’s just so BEAUTIFUL. We are just SO LUCKY to be in lockdown in such a nice place. How good is NATURE.
Alas, four hours after sitting inside, staring at a screen, I’m scrambling for excuses. Everything from ‘it’s a bit windy’ to ‘I’ve gotta prep for this meeting’ to ‘I’m tired’ have been used… and that was just today.
Earlier this week, our General Manager Susannah Miall shared this video about why sitting is bad for you. It reminded me how important it is for my health – and my productivity – to get moving every day.
But I know this alone probably won’t convince you to move. Our brains don’t really work that way. Most of us want to head out for that lunchtime walk… it’s the actually doing it bit that’s hard. Getting over that niggling guilt we feel for not being chained to our desks between 8am and 6pm. Putting aside the to-do list and JUST GETTING OUT THERE.
Here’s how I make it happen (most of the time).
1. Clear it with your boss
I’m lucky enough to work for a company where walking is basically KPI. But even if you don’t work for a fitness business, most employers now recognise the importance of movement for our productivity, as well as our health and happiness.
Have a chat to your manager to get the all-clear, so you don’t need to feel sneaky for heading out to stretch your legs when that 3pm slump hits. Better still… block out half an hour each day in your calendar to get outside so you don’t get trapped in meetings!
2. Be flexible
I appreciate that being able to head out for a walk during the day is a privilege, not a right. So, if a meeting does run long, or someone needs me during my ‘walk time’, I’m flexible. Work still comes first during work hours.
This allows me to take my walk at a time that suits both me and my colleagues, which helps reduce any guilt I might feel for being OOO.
3. Take a walking meeting
Walking meetings are the new Friday night drinks. When so many of us are now working from home or hybrid working, it can be hard to get that face time. Scheduling a working meeting with your team members can be a great way to get your steps in AND build relationships at work.
Plus, you’re technically working so it’s triple guilt free.
4. Meet a friend
I mean, you can cancel on your friends, but do it too often and they might stop being friends with you 😉
Seriously though, meeting up with a friend for a lunchtime walk does increase the chances you’re going to get moving. Schedule in a few walks at the start of the week and you can get your social time and workout time in one.
5. Get a boost buddy
At Wild Women, we have a boost buddy system (created by our aforementioned amazing GM Suze) we’ve used through the lockdown. Each week, Suze pairs us with a new member of the team, and we check in with them each day to see how they’re going with their wellbeing goals.
That simple reminder can be the little push you need to motivate you.
6. Make it productive
Got phone calls to make? Need to check in with your team? Want to brainstorm ideas for a big strategy meeting? Taking a lunchtime walk with a specific intention can be a great way to power through your to-do list. Not all work needs to be done at a desk.
7. Remember how good it feels
When I do drag my ass out into the beautiful sunshine, get moving in nature even just for a few minutes, everything starts to shift. My mood boosts. My productivity improves. I feel connected socially. The woes of the day start to fall away and instead, I feel grateful.
Reminding myself of this really helps motivate me to leave my desk and get some fresh air.
8. Enjoy the benefits!
Increased focus, higher productivity, no 3pm slump. Not to mention the health benefits like reducing your risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes!
The benefits of walking are immense, so when you do manage to fit one in, take a moment to appreciate and enjoy the benefits. I’ll help you make it a habit.
What are your top techniques that motivate you to go walking?