Working in the world and living in the big city, you are surrounded by examples of the value of staying fit. At the same time, your job can be a stressful one, and it may seem that there’s never enough time in the day to cross everything off your “to do” list. With email messages to answer, calls to return, and both virtual and in-person meetings, it’s easy to let your own fitness goals take a back seat to the needs of your manager or clients. With a new year just ahead, this is the perfect time to move your fitness goals back to the top of your list of priorities.
Here’s one fitness hack for the new year that will be the foundation of becoming healthier and more effective in your role: walk. It’s simple and free. A quick walk on your lunch hour can improve your mood, help you lose weight, and even sharpen your memory! You can do it anywhere, without “suiting up”—even in your dress shoes. There are insoles that you can add to your shoes to help you make the most of every step. Available for women and men, supportive Spenco insoles fit into just about every type of shoe and can be your secret weapon in getting fit. (They’ll also take the pressure off, literally, of your hard-working feet.)
Begin the year by adding one 10-minute walk to each workday. Walking gives you time alone—a precious commodity in our wired world. For the first few weeks of walking, I suggest you go “cold turkey” and leave behind your iPod and your cell phone. If your job requires that you keep your phone with you at all times, turn it to silent for ten minutes. Ten minutes of walking will pay dividends as it helps you clear your mind and be more effective when you return to your desk.
The benefits of walking are both immediate and long-term. If you work six days a week, at the end of your first week you will have walked for an hour in total. While you may not be able to carve an hour out of your daily schedule, taking ten minutes at a time is an exercise in setting boundaries: claim those ten minutes as your own—not to be interrupted—and schedule a reminder on your phone. When your colleagues see a more relaxed version of you, standing straighter and breathing easier, they may even suggest setting up the type of “walking meetings” that are favored by the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter. Walking meetings are indeed effective, but be sure to keep your 10-minute daily walks for yourself, to help you meet your fitness goals and become increasingly effective in your career.
Michael Peggs is the founder of content marketing agency and SEO agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.