Walking is one of the most popular forms of exercise across the world. It’s free, doesn’t require expensive equipment, and it’s generally safe to do without any special skills. If you do nothing else for your health, there are tremendous benefits you can get from walking, including fighting inflammation.

Joyce Shulman is joining me today to discuss the power of developing a walking practice to help you age better. I am blown away by some of the benefits we get from walking, based on the latest research. And my guest on GRUFFtalk today is one of the most vocal advocates of walking I’ve ever met. Joyce is the Co-Founder and CEO of 99 Walks and the Founder of Jetti Fit, Nordic walk inspired walking poles you can use to take your workout outdoors and out of the gym.

We discuss the surprising reasons why walking is so important for aging, how it combats loneliness, and how you can develop your own walking practice and stick to it.

Why Walking Is So Important Mentally

As simple as walking is as an activity and something we do in some capacity every day, a walking practice has the power to protect our mind and our cognitive function. Joyce shares how research shows that walking has been proven to increase creativity by 60%. Sitting at your computer Googling solutions to your problems is not the most effective way to solve your problems, but walking, as it turns out, is. Walking for just 10 or 20 minutes has benefits that last long after your walk. It not only protects your mind, it’s protecting you from dementia, boosting your creativity and improving your ability to problem solve.

“Our brains are so powerful we have to give them the opportunity to work at their very best…” -Joyce Shulman


Physical Benefits and Combating Loneliness

You may just think of weight loss and cardio benefits associated with walking, but Joyce points out the research that supports all the ways walking helps to physically fend off some kinds of cancer, in addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight. Walking is almost a superpower form of exercise in that it not only has physical benefits, but it also has a powerful ability to activate hormone secretion such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. Oxytocin is the connection hormone (also known as the ‘feel good’ hormone) that helps to ward off loneliness. Walking is perfect for groups and conflict resolution if you need to have difficult conversations.

Tips to Start Walking and Sticking with It

Joyce shares her best tips for how anyone can develop a walking practice regardless of where they’re starting from. If 5 minutes is all you can do, or 20 minutes feels good, the goal is to just get started no matter how small your goal seems to be. It’s about setting the intention and making time.

  • Set doable goals
  • Walk with a friend, make it fun
  • Plan a time for your walk and commit to showing up

“When you come in from a workout, just pause for a moment as you walk in the door and check in with yourself, because realizing the impact of the work that you just did, no matter what it is, that feeling is the feeling that you need to keep chasing, […] but it’s no good if you don’t notice that you feel better.” -Joyce Shulman

Joyce Shulman’s 3 Takeaways:

  • Every step counts even if it’s for 10 minutes
  • Schedule time for your walk and make yourself a priority
  • Tune into how you feel after walking and recognize how you feel better

If you’d like to submit your questions for a future episode, send an email to

Follow Joyce Schulman:




Check out Joyce’s Ted Talk:  

Check out Joyce’s Book, Walk Your Way Better:  

Connect with Barbara: 

Love Your Age: The Small-Step Solution to a Better, Longer, Happier Life 

Barbara Hannah Grufferman website

Instagram @Barbara Hannah Grufferman 

Facebook @BarbaraHannahGruffermanAuthor

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