We recently had the opportunity to partner with Joyce Shulman to learn more about her impressive leadership skills as Pack Leader of 99 Walks and her inspirational words in her book, Walk Your Way to Better. Read along through our Q&A below and be on your way to a healthier you in the new year.
Q: What exactly is 99 Walks?
At its heart, 99 Walks offers monthly walking challenges for women.
Our members are free to set their own monthly walking goals and we provide all the tools and support they need to crush them — including an awesome walk tracking app, daily walking classes, walking meditations, and motivating content.
One of the favorite hashtags of the community is #willwalkforbling because, at the end of every month, we send every member who crushed her goal what we call wearable inspiration — a cuff bracelet engraved with the theme of the month.
But truly the heart and soul of what we are is a community of incredibly supportive women who are walking their way to better and supporting one another along the way.
Q: Why walking?
Walking delivers unbelievable benefits for your mood, mind and body. Oodles of research shows that a regular walking practice can help people combat loneliness, fuel creativity and increase problem-solving skills, and when we do it while connecting with others, all of those benefits are enhanced.
There are also a ton of health benefits from walking daily, plus there is the added bonus that it’s fun and interesting depending upon where you’re walking and who you’re talking to.
Q: Wow, that’s a lot! Let’s dig in a little, how does it help your mood?
Walking really can help you chase away the blues as it encourages the brain to release endorphins, which can lift your mood and help you feel less lonely.
Several studies have shown that walking briskly for as little as one hour a week on a consistent basis can stave off or lift depression by more than 25%. That’s a lot of return when you think about the fact that all you have to do is lace up your sneakers and go outside, walk around the house, or hop on the treadmill.
Q: And for your mind?
Walking encourages our brains to work at their very best. There is so much research that confirms that walking can increase a person’s clarity, energy, decision-making process, problem-solving and creative thinking abilities. It also supports that when we walk, we process things differently. And I believe It’s because when half the brain is engaged in the mechanics of putting one foot in front of the other, the other half becomes free to roam, dream and find solutions to nagging problems.
A great walk is like giving the brain a blast of fresh air to clear out the cobwebs, invite in ideas and connect with others and ourselves.
Q: And last but not least, body?
Of course walking is great for weight loss and toning, but it also fuels your energy and improves agility and balance. The more you walk, the more you’ll be able to walk.
Walking also has a powerful effect on the immune system. If you walk for at least 20 minutes a day every weekday, you’re likely to experience 43% fewer sick days a year, according to one study. That’s good to know during flu season.
Q: How does 99 Walks help to motivate its members to take care of themselves?
Connection is the key and motivation is at our core. Our entire platform is about encouraging women to take control of their own walking experience by helping set and reach their own goals. And we help motivate our pack members with a powerful community and an extensive array of education and programming including daily inspirations, informative blog posts, motivating coaches, a weekly podcast and a variety of classes.
Q: What inspired you to create 99 Walks?
I’ve always known walking is transformative. From early experiences as a teenager, then college student, and then mother, I discovered the mental and physical changes walking could realize. I made the connection that all of my greatest business and personal ideas have come to me while on a walk. It was not only a way to gain clarity, but also a way to foster connection. To combat the feeling of loneliness that we all face. Yes, walking is magic. So I created 99 Walks because I am on a mission to get a million women walking. To empower them with the tools to help them improve their health and lives. And to help to make the world just a little better for all.
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