Can a walk make that much difference to your career?
When I asked a range of professionals recently, answers ranged from skepticism about the value of using time just walking about in very busy working days, to enthusiastic agreement that a breath of fresh air can only be good for the constitution and, by extension, decision-making. Although not many people extend the benefits of being a little fitter with transforming their future career, evidence and a bit of observation tells us that fitness is a much overlooked aspect of career potential.
Being active is a major component in health; not just physical health but also emotional and social health, which in an uncertain world can mean the resilience and confidence to face work challenges more effectively. Taking responsibility for organising the time to fit activity into life is a mark of good overall ability.
The physical benefits of any exercise, including walking, are many. They range from better cardio-vascular health to stronger bones and muscles and lower rates of almost every ailment from cold to cancer. For successful career people, especially those approaching or in middle-age these benefits are proportionately greater than for younger colleagues. And then, of course, there is the issue of weight gain and the impact it has on self-esteem and physical health.
Walking is one of those things that, once you’ve done a bit of it (enough to get past the initial effort of moving if you are not that used to it) you can just carry on and on. The challenge then becomes walking further, in different terrain or perhaps moving up to a bit of running. By that time your work colleagues may well be in awe of you; you may even have moved on to a new role equipped with a new positive attitude and new stronger physique. Walking can most definitely make a big difference to your career.