I love the honesty of Ted. He told me he just hates walking. He’d rather just sit every chance he gets. He knows he needs to walk more, but the thought of it wears him out. Ted, I’ll give you points for the brutal truth, but c’mon man. Oliver is also overweight and gets winded with a brisk walk, not to mention stairs.
Sadly, there are too many Teds out there minus the honesty. As we’ve already discussed, the road favors the Ted types by giving you more than enough opportunities to sit for the majority of the day. But the area that suffers the most for Ted and his merry, walk-avoiding men, is their energy.
Increase M4X started with Stand More. Once we begin to increase our energy by standing more, it naturally leads to the second M4X, which is Walk More.
This means you need to up the walk big time. Admit it, you savvy business traveler, you avoid walking. Feel better getting that out? Need some proof?
- How often have you done one or more of the following?
- Driven around the parking lot to park closer to save time
- Taken the escalator or elevator to go up one floor
- Had someone pick you up at the front door instead of walking to the car
- Driven a short distance so you could go and work out
- Chosen the sitting bike in the hotel fitness center so you could sit and not have to walk on the treadmill
The reality is, there are plenty of opportunities to walk during a day on the road. You just need to look for them, and then simply take a walk.
HERE ARE SEVEN WAYS TO WALK MORE DURING TRAVEL
1. WALK AROUND THE AIRPORT
I know sitting is most business traveler’s reward for the long walk to the gate before you board, but I want you to stand every chance you get.
Often, you arrive at the gate with more than enough time. So, what should you do? The easiest thing to do is to simply sit down and check email. Granted, you may need to do that, but do you need to do it the whole time? Could you potentially do that during your flight?
My challenge is to walk around the airport with the sole purpose of movement. I know, crazy, right? But remember, you’re going to be sitting the majority of the time the next couple hours or more. So, maximize this time by getting your walk on and walking for movement (and of course some people-watching and site-seeing). You could walk to the airport bookstore. You could also listen to a podcast or audiobook and double up the energy habits on your airport stroll.
Earn that seat when it’s time to sit down on your flight, but be ready to do the next way to walk more during travel…
2. WALK AROUND ON THE FLIGHT
You’re not bound by your seatbelt the entire flight. There are times, actually, more than half your flight, when you’re “free to move about the cabin” but almost nobody does. Why? Because as we discussed earlier, most people just default to sitting. It’s the path of least resistance.
But is it best for your energy?
During every flight, I walk from the front to the back at least twice. Yep, I’m that guy. If I’m sitting in the front, I use the bathroom in the back of the plane.
I honestly don’t care what people think if I stand and walk. I’ll never see them again and don’t mind someone thinking I’m weird. It’s usually what I call the “jealous judge” because I’m in better shape. Booyah.
But seriously, in order to M4X, you must look for creative ways to add walking into your travel day, and the plane is the perfect place.
One other benefit is once I do my walk and sit back down, my mind is so much clearer because I’ve moved the body and rested the mind, which you’ll learn later is the exact definition of a quality break. I want to be clearer in my mind to do my best work.
3. TAKE THE STAIRS, NOT THE ESCALATOR OR ELEVATORS
Escalators and elevators are everywhere from the airport to office buildings. We head directly to them like in a trance; it’s as though we have no control and we are overpowered by their pull.
What if you resisted? What if you woke up from the trance when you saw them and chose to take the stairs?
They look daunting, but you can do it. Why? Because this is a chance to walk more and get your heart rate up for just a few seconds. Plus, you get to show-up all those lazy travelers or business professionals taking the easy way out.
It’s a chance to think and see an escalator or elevator as a mental trigger to immediately look for the stairs. It’s amazing just how many additional steps you can get in by continually moving.
Often, an escalator may be your only option. If this is the case, do something incredibly rare and ingenious. Are you ready for it? Walk up the escalator. I know, right? Brilliant!
4. CHOOSE A HIGHER FLOOR AT YOUR HOTEL
When you check in to your hotel, you’re not completely at the mercy of the location they give you. Often, I’ll request a higher floor and a quieter location.
If you’re just starting out and trying to add more walking to your travel day, I suggest requesting the second floor. It’s a quick win because it’s only one flight of stairs to go to your room instead of multiple floors.
So, when you check-in and head to your room, this is the time you can take the elevator to get your luggage to your room. From that point on, take the stairs both up and down. When you check out, it’s no big deal to take the elevator, but what you’ve done is increased your walking every time you go to and from your room.
Think about it. If you’re in a hotel 2 or 3 nights and you’re in and out of your room to go to breakfast, to go back to your room after your day, to work out in the fitness center, to head to dinner, etc., then you’ve added bonus movement simply by adding one floor and taking the stairs.
Once you get into the habit of taking the stairs to the second floor, begin to add a floor. The ultimate goal to be an elite road warrior is to stay at the highest floor you’re allowed and take the stairs every single time. This simple change has added SO much walking on my travel day; you’ll literally feel the difference in your legs and in your energy (which is the most important thing!).
5. PARK AT THE BACK OF THE LOT
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, we’ll often drive and drive around a parking lot to find just that little bit of a closer parking spot. Nicely done, Ace. Way to clock some more sitting time.
What if you naturally parked in the back of the lot or at least a little further away to get more walking in?
Often, I’ll choose to park in the back under a shade tree to keep my car a little cooler and to enjoy the walk to and from my location because I want to M4X by walking. It’s a simple choice.
If you’re new to this CRAZY IDEA, park a short distance away, see how it works, and slowly begin parking farther away.
6. TAKE YOUR CALLS ON A WALK
This one seems almost too obvious. With EVERY call, you don’t necessarily need to be at a desk, sitting down, or viewing a screen. You could take the call on a walk.
I started doing this when I had to join a weekly team call. I could put myself on mute when it wasn’t my part and take the show on the road. The calls lasted anywhere from 30-60 minutes, and I could log a good 1-2 miles during the call. Did you catch that? I logged 1-2 miles while listening in on a call!
I’ve also chosen to put the video or GoToMeeting screen on my phone so when I need to view it, I can see it. I stop, see what I need, and talk when I need, then I go back to my walking.
It’s awesome! I’m getting paid to M4X by walking more – a beautiful thing, my fellow road warriors.
I realize this can’t work every single time, but you’ll be surprised just how many times it can work if you’re willing to try it and make it work.
7. TAKE A WALKING BREAK
Often, there are times to take a break from work. This is a perfect time to walk more and go for a walk. A walk, especially outside, will open up your mind and allow it to have a rest, and then it will allow your body to move with the walking. Even a 5- to 10-minute break will give you a huge energy boost for another round of whatever work you need to do.
One of the best times for a walk is in the mid-afternoon. Depending on what you have for lunch (we’ll discuss food in Energy Habit Two) and how much sleep you got the night before (we’ll discuss rest in Energy Habit Three), the afternoon is often a challenge on the energy and productivity (Energy Habit Four).
So, getting some movement, fresh air, and resting the mind will go a long way with a long day.
BABY STEP TO WALK MORE
Whether we fly to our destination or not, the one common denominator is the hotel. We all stay in a hotel overnight. So, this baby step actually requires walking (imagine that with a step?).
So here, the baby step challenge for walk more is to only use the elevator when you check in and check out. Any other time, take the stairs. Start with requesting a room on the second floor (then work your way up later) but get in the habit of walking more at the hotel.
- The reality is there are plenty of opportunities to walk during a day on the road. You just need to look for them, and then simply take a walk.
- Take the stairs and avoid the elevator and/or escalator (and if you take the escalator, walk UP the escalator!).
- Take your breaks and phone calls on a walk every chance you get to clear your mind and to move your body.