How to Get Things Done While You Walk

Updated: Feb. 16, 2012

Although there is great benefit to turning off your mind on a solitary walk, some days that’s just not possible.

Although there is great benefit to turning off your mind on a solitary walk, some days that’s just not possible. This is the age of multi-tasking, and often the only way to squeeze in a walk is to make sure you get something else done in the process. Because of this necessity (and the fact that no sensible person can resist a 2-for-1 deal), we put together the following list of 10 other things you can accomplish while putting one foot in front of the other. That’s right, it’s time to walk, chew gum, and much more—all at the same time.

Plus: 15 Ways to Sneak In Walking Time

1. Window shop

Map a route that weaves through the downtown shopping district, or drive to the nearest mall and do a few laps. Consider it a reconnaissance mission that will save you shopping time later. But make sure to leave your purse and credit cards behind so you aren’t tempted to stop, spend, and otherwise, interrupt your workout.

2. Do yoga

Here are a couple of simple, invigorating yoga moves that you can do while walking. The first is a partial sun salutation. Without breaking stride or bending your elbows, slowly inhale your arms out to your sides and up until both palms meet overhead. Then slowly exhale them back to your sides. Really reach out with your fingertips as you do this, and repeat for as long as is comfortable. Next, interlace your fingers behind you, with palms toward your back, and gently raise both arms while you continue to walk along. You’ll feel a nice opening in your chest and shoulders. Hold for as long as comfortable. Repeat both moves periodically throughout your walk.

3. Reconnect

Walking not only opens our hearts to nature, but also to each other. Many women find it easier to broach different subjects and talk honestly while walking, plus people tend to listen better because of fewer distractions. If you need to hash out an issue with your hubby, break through to your mystery teen, or just reconnect with a friend, try doing so while walking.

4. Read

If you love to curl up with a good book but rarely have the luxury, download the audiobook of a classic or current bestseller, and listen on your iPod or mobile phone as you walk. Your local library should also have audio books in CD and cassette formats for lending.

5. Learn a language

If you’ve ever struggled with learning a new language in a classroom or at home, try listening to audio instruction while walking. Because of the extra blood flow that exercise triggers, researchers have found that learning ability and memory retention improves. You could be fluent in no time.

Plus: Walk to a Healthier, Slimmer You

6. Meditate

Many women find it much easier to meditate while walking than sitting. There’s something about the rhythmic, repetitive action of putting one foot in front of the other that fosters inner peace. To experience it, adopt an easy, consistent pace and become aware of your heel and then your mid-foot and finally your toes hitting the ground on each forward step. Synchronize your breath. Forget. You’ll know you’ve hit the sweet spot when the minutes pass like seconds, and you finish even more refreshed than when you started.

7. Spread happiness

A friend of ours recently did an experiment. He started saying “hello” or waving to everyone he passed on his walks. And an interesting thing happened: Before long, people were greeting him first, and drivers even started giving him a wider berth. Try it.

8. Rehearse a speech

Have an important presentation coming up? Rehearse it on the road. Talk out loud, use lots of hand gestures, and when you’re finished do a few forward bends to stretch those hamstring muscles (and, of course, practice your bow).

9. Solve all your problems

Here’s how to do it: Before leaving on a walk, sit down and ponder the dilemma you’re facing for 5 minutes. Then head out the door and forget about it. Turn up the tunes or do any of the previous 8 things to take your mind off it. But here’s the magic: Even though you won’t be consciously cranking on it, your subconscious will be. And at some point during the walk, the solution will often pop into your head. In time, you’ll be experiencing clarity with much more regularity.

10. Beautify your neighborhood

Instead of passing by the same trash on every walk, put on a pair of gloves and stuff the litter into a bag. The extra bending will provide an even better workout (or you can build a trash picker by attaching a nail to the end of a broomstick).

Plus: 11 Ways to Sneak Exercise Into Your Day

Sources: Best You

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest