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Q&A  •  3 June 2024


How physical activity can improve your work performance

Authors Shannah Kennedy and Colleen Callander explain how they use physical activity to improve their leadership, productivity and mindset.

What is the connection between physical activity and personal growth?

Physical activity and growth are connected in several ways. Movement prevents us from feeling stuck, while regular activity stimulates creativity, often leading to fresh ideas and new perspectives.

Some of these benefits come from being outdoors, where fresh air and natural surroundings can inspire and rejuvenate the mind.

Additionally, exercise boosts brain function and releases endorphins, enhancing mood and cognitive ability.

Incorporating physical activity into our routines not only supports physical health but also fosters mental and emotional growth.

Has regular exercise impacted your ability to lead?

Walking together allows us to unpack situations, making for thoughtful and deliberate responses rather than reactionary ones. This reflective process provides the space to digest current issues and improve our problem-solving skills.

They also say a fit body is a fit mind, and fitness is essential for both of us – physically and mentally.

Has prioritising your physical wellbeing enhanced your performance?

Despite raising families, having incredible careers, travelling and looking after our parents simultaneously, we've always kept the habit of long-distance walking – and remained incredibly consistent. Whether it is raining, windy or gorgeous out, we walk.

This routine has helped us to function well, sleep better and achieve a balanced life.

By remaining committed to physical health, we can handle multiple demands effectively and sustain our energy and high productivity levels.

Can you provide an example of how physical activity has positively transformed your mindset and empowered you to overcome challenges?

We have both experienced extreme burnout at different stages of our early careers.

Since then, Colleen has managed and led as a CEO, overseeing employees, stores and suppliers, while Shannah has coached over 1,000 people in the past 20 years.

Even in these demanding roles, physical activity has been our top priority to protect our most valuable asset: ourselves.

We are passionate about career longevity and are committed to never experiencing burnout again. Starting the day with physical activity brings us both constant joy and a sense of renewal.

What inspired you to create your group walks?

The idea came to us while walking, of course!

We realised the profound impact movement had on our mindset, growth and creativity, which led us to integrate walking into our business model.

Today, we organise long-distance pilgrim trails around the world, ticking off bucket-list destinations while combining travel with personal development.

Each morning, we start with a lecture and then coach individuals as we walk.

In the evenings, we provide journal prompts for clients to capture their creative thoughts and lessons learned throughout the day. This process helps them reflect on their lives, define their goals and plan for the future.

We see these world walks as a privilege and are deeply passionate about helping, coaching and inspiring others. We aim to encourage people to incorporate physical activity and mindset work into their daily lives, ensuring their personal growth and wellbeing for years to come.

How do you personally address the importance of balancing physical activity with other aspects of life, such as work and relationships?

Ensuring a balance is paramount.

You can't pour from an empty cup, and if we're constantly exhausted, it impacts both our professional endeavours and personal connections.

Prioritising sleep, physical fitness and movement is essential for maintaining the energy, mindset and patience required to perform at our best in our careers while also being present and vibrant for our families, a priority we both hold dear.

For us, health comes first in all its dimensions – physical, mental and emotional. This principle is emphasised in our book, Elevate, where we highlight the foundational role health plays in every aspect of life.

What specific exercises or routines do you personally implement to elevate your physical and mental wellbeing?

In addition to walking, we incorporate yoga, pilates and stretching into our routines.

We also indulge in the therapeutic benefits of hot tubs and cold pools, relaxing and rejuvenating with evening baths under the stars and invigorating cold plunges in our unheated pools. Recovery is a huge part of our high-performance lifestyle.

As part of our commitment to overall health and wellbeing, we both use an app to listen to sleep and morning meditations.

Throughout the day, we integrate breathwork, often incorporating it into mundane activities like washing our hands.

Maintaining a sense of humour and not taking life too seriously is also crucial. Enjoying the journey, having a laugh and keeping moving are easy ways to benefit your physical and mental health.


Interested? Learn more about Colleen and Shannah's world walks here.

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