Exercising during pandemic proves therapeutic for CRE experts

Above: Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels Real Estate | 1 Aug |

Here’s how some Arizona commercial real estate executives have used exercising during the pandemic to work the body and ease the mind during these troubled times.

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Stress is something that commercial real estate professionals are used to; it’s part of the job. However, no one can deny that the events so far in 2020 have created stressful times as we’ve never seen before. With lockdowns, quarantines and a global pandemic part of our regular vocabulary, finding ways to lower stress levels has become vital to remaining positive and productive.

Jennifer Davis Lunt

Like many folks, commercial real estate professionals look to exercise to maintain their physical well-being, but many have found that exercise has also helped their mental state during the first half of 2020.

“Once Governor Ducey announced the stay-at-home order, I started exercising more often than I usually do,” said Jennifer Davis Lunt, managing partner at Davis Enterprises. “I have been riding my Peloton bike daily, running the canal early in the morning or in the evening so I can watch the sunset, and practicing yoga at home.

“I’ve always enjoyed exercising for the physical aspect, but lately I have been exercising for the mood-boosting effects of endorphins from riding the bike and running or the meditative aspects of yoga.”

Davis Lunt is not alone in realizing the value of physical exercise in these troubled times. Laurel Lewis, senior vice president at NAI Horizon, said she’s been a lifelong exerciser, but has found that if she didn’t find time to work out her body, her mind would begin working overtime.

“I knew that if I didn’t get daily exercise I would experience all of the gremlins that my mind could deliver,” Lewis said. “Living in Phoenix with access to parks, trails, canals, bike paths, etc.; has been a blessing that few in the country have. I not only continued my daily exercise, but added to it. I did add as many weights as I could find to my garage gym and got crazy sweating it out, tunes blaring with the garage door open and the neighbors walking by and peering in. The more I engaged my muscle, the quieter my mind got.”

Jim Harrison

Lewis said she was able to take walks in the morning with a friend while maintaining social distance, and then hop on her bike for a mountain trail ride or through green belts that run through her neighborhood. She said she also hiked, which helped to clear her head. Lewis also noticed an increase in families walking or riding together during the peak of the stay-at-home orders.

“The beautiful thing is to see families walking, riding, playing with kids and/or dogs and ditching screen time or daily commutes and connecting with each other and the world,” Lewis said. “I think we will emerge better from this.”

Brothers Payson MacWilliam and Don MacWilliam, both vice presidents at Colliers International in Arizona, teamed up with Jim Harrison, president at Harrison Properties, to cycle four to six times a week. The trio would vary their 90 to 120 minutes of riding, exploring various areas of the Valley. They cycled through Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and North Scottsdale. These outings enable the group to stay fit and keep their sanity during this pandemic.

According to Don MacWilliam, one positive part of the Coronavirus stay-at-home orders came in the form of less traffic on the roads while they cycle. They have been able to start rides an hour or two later in the morning since rush hour traffic disappeared.

Some companies actually helped their employees improve their wellness and fitness during the pandemic. For example, Colliers provided its staff with free Headspace membership for wellness and mindfulness. Headspace is a website or application that helps people explore meditation and mindfulness. In addition, Colliers gave a free trial membership to KrowdFit, which offers prizes and incentives to participants based on exercise levels reached, steps taken, etc.

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