If you have been paying attention to the wearable fitness industry, you have probably noticed the clear focus on your daily step count. While this is clearly a valuable focus, at Tignum we want you to think different. We want you to think of what happens in those “10,000” steps. We view this thought through our 3 performance levels of Functioning, Optimization, and Preparing for Peak Performances.
At the Functioning level, most of our clients are well aware of the health benefits 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. Additionally, you improve your peripheral blood flow and reduce your 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 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. This helps you 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 early Alzheimers, but also dramatically improve your mood. A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine revealed exercise to be an effective aid in reducing depression.
Peak Performances //
When it comes to your critical must-win events, having a short walk before you enter the boardroom, or before you give a presentation, will give you the time (and perfect fertile environment) to set clear intentions, mentally visualize success, and pre-plan all the possible scenarios. By briefly reflecting on past successful experiences, you can even maximize your self confidence and increase the probability of repeating your high performance behaviors.
In a world where we are often back to back with no space to prepare, reflect, or think, many of our clients use a simple walk to create the space to build their mindset.
Knowing the performance benefits of taking a walk (from a brain and body perspective), we highly recommend walking meetings. Walking side by side not only gives you a different orientation, it energizes your discussions and often leads to much better solutions.
To integrate more walking into your day some simple suggestions include:
_Remember, the walk 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. You can even do phone meetings on a walk.
_Plan meetings at different places within your building (or outside your building).
_Stay off the people mover in the airport.
_Start the day with a walk to get into your work mindset.
_End the day with a walk to reflect on your day and get into your home mindset.
_Shoot for 2,000 steps every two hours during the day.
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
By Chris Males
Tignum//Director of Performance Coaching