When my calendar reminded me that I needed to write a post for TweakYourBiz, I headed outside instead of sitting down at my computer. I wanted to take a walk, as I often do, to come up with a topic idea. And I found my topic in the very act!
There are so many reasons why I — and you — benefit from taking a walk as a business owner. Here’s why you should start walking right now.
#1. It Clears Your Head
Sitting in my office, it can be challenging to come up with blog ideas or solutions to challenges. There are too many distractions: my email inbox beckoning for a peek. Facebook singing its siren song. A pile of papers to sift through on my desk.
But as soon as I leave my office and begin walking, magic happens. In fact, I was only a few houses away from mine when I decided on the topic I’m writing about here. It’s like all the busy energy that is trapped in my office clears from my head as soon as I leave.
#2. It Reduces Stress
Now, I’m sure you have zero stress in running your business, but for me, occasionally I am a bit uptight about a project, an unpaid bill, whatever. Studies show that being in nature lowers stress. I would argue that you don’t have to be out in the countryside to benefit from it. For me, taking in the flowers in a neighbor’s yard, watching the leaves change on the few select trees that actually celebrate the fall in Southern California, and simply enjoying the sunshine untense my muscles. And that puts me in the right state of mind to get back to work when I’m done walking.
#3. It Inspires
Now, hear me out on this one. When I need a great angle for an article, I often find it in surprising places. I have been known to be inspired from a breakfast burrito as well as the Beastie Boys in my writing, which is proof that you can find inspiration for your business just about anywhere.
I like to find things to compare. Like: how is marketing like a rose? How will walking your dog make you a more disciplined entrepreneur? Finding connections between seemingly disparate things is a good conversation-starter, and makes for a great read, in my mind.
#4. It Makes You Healthier
I don’t know that we can completely attribute good health to trees, but there is plenty of research that shows that we boost our immune systems by not only being outside, but also simply exercising. Both make you more productive and lowers the number of sick days you have to take (sick days?? what are those?). Plus, who doesn’t feel better being in shape? Even if walks aren’t your thing, you can replace it with going to the gym, yoga, pilates, or whatever floats your boat.
#5. It Instantly Improves Your Mood
Did you just have a bad phone call with a client? Are you not getting any work done because of your foul mood? Go for a walk, and I’ll guarantee that mood will improve. It’s helpful to remove yourself from the place where the mood change happened, take some time to breathe deeply and enjoy a different scene, then get back to to work.
#6. You Have Nothing Better to Do
I’m sure you’re guilty of what I call “false busyness,” where you feel like you’ve got so much to do — and actually stay really busy — but at the end of the day, you can’t really name anything you accomplished. Maybe you checked your email every half hour (to what end?). You spent a lot of time on social media (not really on business tasks). You organized files and made lists. While all of these are tasks that need doing sometimes, it’s actually better to get out of the office and walk than to keep up your “busy” work.
#7. You Can Sweat Your Business Out of Your Head
Sometimes I need more than just a quick walk with the dog around the neighborhood. I’m lucky in that there are many mountains and trails where I live, so if I’m craving something that requires lacing up my hiking boots, I’ve got options. When I go on longer, grueling hikes, it’s a different experience and result. I can’t think about business when I’m huffing up a sharp incline or trying not to fall face-first down the mountain. And I don’t want to think about business when I finally reach the pinnacle and take in the astounding view.
Sometimes it’s got to be about something other than business. I have plenty of interests other than running my marketing firm, and sometimes I need a push to shut off the entrepreneur part of my brain to enjoy them. But inevitably, when I do, I feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next business day.
#8. It’s Trendy
Maybe in response to all the PR buzz that sitting at your desk will kill you, there is a movement of people holding walking meetings. Rather than slouching around the conference table, business teams are putting on their sneakers and walking while they talk business. This is a cool idea! I work for myself and don’t hold meetings with my freelancers, but maybe I’ll start taking calls on my walks.
#9. You Deserve It
It’s not often we think of what we deserve as business owners. We’re too exhausted putting all our attention into running our companies to think about our own needs. But you sell yourself short if you don’t take care of yourself. I’m not suggesting you book a 5-star tropical holiday (well, yes I am, but if you don’t have time or money, here’s another option), but even a 10-minute walk can do wonders for you, your health, and your sanity. A happy and healthy entrepreneur is a successful one!
#10. It’s Easy
You don’t need special training or equipment. You can do it anywhere. There’s absolutely no excuse why you shouldn’t walk, and if it benefits your company as well as your health, why wouldn’t you? So put on those shoes and get walking!
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