Guest blog by Fiona Grundy
It’s the start of a brand new year, and this is traditionally a great time of year to take stock of your business and make positive plans, look at fresh ways of taking your portfolio career forward and schedule in ways of taking better care of yourself too. After all, your head has to be in the right space to make all those exciting new plans a reality.
If eating ‘al-desko’, sitting for long periods of time at the desk without moving and thinking up very convincing excuses not to get out into that murky grey cold winter weather and embrace the outside, sounds like you, then you may want to consider joining a walking group or Netwalking group, yes, that isn’t a typo, it’s a thing. I first heard the word from one of the women in my Networking group.
I am a Virtual Assistant working from home and I know I am not alone in spending the majority of my time each working week sat at the desk in front of the computer. According to NHS online office workers spend approximately 75% of their time sitting at their desk! It’s a sedentary occupation and I am fully aware that sitting all day can carry a health warning.
Now, I know there are a host of brilliant exercises you can do whilst sat at the desk, and even I try to work in to my daily routine a daily walk outside. The reality is that I may not always do this because of work deadlines or the weather or I just don’t feel like it! However, the accountability of committing to a group of walkers means we always turn up when we say we will. My Netwalking group meets monthly, we find that having a focus and purpose to the walks keeps us engaged, so we have ticked off our list walking the Thames Path – 182 miles following the meandering River Thames from its source in the Cotswolds to the Thames Barrier in London. We are now walking the London Outer Orbital Path (aka the London Loop). 150 miles from Erith to Purfleet a circular walk which we are tackling in walkable chunks of roughly 7 – 10 miles, we’ve decided that the order we do it in is irrelevant as long as we finish it all. We experience a sense of achievement by completing each section all adding to the feel-good factor.
Netwalking has many benefits including improving good physical and mental health. Walking helps to burn excess calories, improves cardiac health and stamina and it is a well documented fact that walking outdoors in nature helps to alleviate low mood.
As a networking group, one of the best things is that you also have so much more time to discover more about your fellow walkers. There is no 30 second elevator pitch in front of a room full of strangers (if it’s not your thing, it is difficult) to present your best self and succinctly describe your business. You have the luxury of time to chat, the conversation is organic and the pressure is off. You discover in more depth about their business, how you might be able to help them, and they in turn ask more about you. Building relationships is hugely important to building trust and people are more likely to pass on referrals or do business directly with you when they know you better.
Walking can transform your mindset. According to Greater Good Magazine, nature can make you kinder, happier and more creative and I can’t argue with that! We often thrash through problems on our walks, whether it be work or personal stresses and having an opinion from a completely different perspective can be very powerful. There have been many light bulb moments in our group. Taking a break from the mobile and computer screens and treating your eyes and ears to the sights and sounds of nature is hugely uplifting.
We are lucky enough to have a knowledgeable walker who answers all our queries on what tree or bird we ask about. The mighty Kingfisher still alludes us but we are ever hopeful. We also have in the group a lawyer, barrister, doctor and logistics expert. I reckon between us we can get ourselves out of most scrapes we might find ourselves in.
Good luck with your year ahead.