#128: From Lawyer To Walking Guru (Joyce Shulman)
March 26 2021
When Joyce Shulman, CEO of 99walks.fit, came home in a bad mood one day during high school, her father suggested she go for a walk. “I didn’t know what was bugging me. I walked out the door and walked for two miles. I vividly remember feeling that when I walked back into the house my whole mood had shifted.” Shulman now offers her 12,000 members daily walking classes with coaches and meditations and preaches the research that shows just regular walking can add seven years to an individual’s life. But her path to walking wonderland was not a straight one. Shulman began life as a commercial litigator in New York City. After marrying, she and her husband launched the “world’s first nutrition bar for dogs, which grew to include cats and horses.” The business eventually fell apart and these serial entrepreneurs began creating the first pizza boxes with 4-color advertising. Fifteen years later they launched an e-newsletter for kids and families, and then, upon noticing the health crisis among women, 99walks. “The country was getting bigger and less well,” Shulman says. “And I was watching the rise of the loneliness epidemic…For me, walking with friends and for community has tremendous value.” Best of all, walking engages those “left behind from the fitness industrial complex.” She says: “Some older women never had a meaningful fitness program. They don’t feel like they have a place for them.” Shulman hopes that walking can also help be an answer to the depression and lack of movement caused by the pandemic.