My Other Life with Sandra Graham-Mason

PM360 recently spoke to Sandra Graham-Mason, Senior Director, KOL Engagement, Oncology, Regeneron, about the importance of just getting up and taking a walk while so many people are stuck working from home.

PM360: What made you decide to take up walking?

Sandra Graham-Mason: When we started working from home, I thought I would have an opportunity to work out more, but that didn’t prove to be the case. Instead that boundary line between work and life has been totally erased. My work hours went from eight hours a day plus two hours for the commute to working 12 to 15 hours a day. And it is a very sedentary lifestyle that can potentially lead to weight gain and other unintended consequences. Plus, I also just needed a mental break to help me maintain a better balance. Ultimately, my husband was instrumental in making me stop, get up, and start walking. I started doing it last spring when the weather broke and continued throughout the winter months going out rain, snow, or shine.

Sandra and her husband in Cliff Walk in Newport, RI after taking three hours to walk the length of the town.

How often do you walk and how far?

I started off doing about 15 minutes, walking a couple blocks, and then getting back to work. Now, I like to walk for an hour and that gives me a full three miles, which I do at least three days a week. Then on the weekends I get in a full hour and a half, which adds another quarter of a mile or so. Mostly, I walk around my neighborhood, which I realized I have lived in for six years and haven’t explored much. So I started checking out the different blocks, seeing the neighbors, and now I have become a fixture within the neighborhood.

Sandra taking a walk with her husband around their neighborhood, which in addition to offering exercise has proved to be a great way for them to connect.

Is this something you will keep up even after you eventually return to the office?

Yes, there is a path where I work where I could take a meeting outside. Or I can still go for that walk around the neighborhood after work, because now my neighbors know me. I feel they will wonder what happened to me if I’m not taking my walk.

Sandra in Newport, RI taking one of its famous mansion tours.

You plan to take walking meetings? That sounds like a great idea!

Yes, and that was an idea my boss brought up. One day he told everybody to get up and go for a walk during a meeting. It was a rainy day, and no one wanted to do it, but it turned out to be fun. You still need to do your prep beforehand, but if no one is presenting slides then it is a great way to do a meeting. I will definitely incorporate it going forward, and I highly recommend it.

One advantage of the mansion tours is no elevators, which means more exercise.

Do you have any other advice for people who also feel stuck in front of a computer all day?

Just find whatever activity is for you and start doing it. You can get so bogged down thinking you don’t have time, but you’ve got to put yourself as a priority. You can still meet your work expectations and even exceed them, but you also need to find a way to remain healthy.

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