It started simply enough: my friend and I decided to start walking to get in shape. This goal was a vague one; we weren’t fitness gurus or anything, just two moms who wanted to move and get some fresh air in the process.

We mentioned our plan to a third mom friend, and our walking club was born. We later recruited a fourth neighbor, who also became a good friend, for our morning stroll.

We kept this up for an entire school year (since we could only do this while all seven of our kids were at school) and discovered, as a group, some amazing benefits to walking, five (yes, five!) miles every single day, in addition to fitness:

1. Walking Made Talking Even Easier for Us
When we get together, we usually don’t have much trouble with the gabfest. But somehow, walking through our tree-lined neighborhood increased our talkativeness. We covered every kind of topic you can imagine, and then some. Some days we were holding our sides while one of us shared an anecdote from childhood; another day, it was consoling a friend who might be going through a medical issue; other times, it would be fluffy celebrity gossip, a cool YouTube video we just had to check out, or even some taboo subject, that really didn’t seem like a big deal to discuss while out walking.

2. I Got to Know My Friends So Much Better Than before
Speaking of taboo subjects, I had no idea how far we would all get into certain topics. On the surface, or on playdates, it was always easier and more natural to see each other as moms, and not much else. Once we had each others’ undivided attention, we were able to have some pretty crazy, no-holds-barred convos, which really gave us a window into each others’ minds and lives.

3. We Felt Inspired to Be Better Versions of Ourselves after Each Session
After working out, we felt energized to continue our day. By extension, we ate cleaner, drank more water, and thought more positively after each walk. It was a great way to propel us through all of the tasks which lay before us once we got home.

4. We Didn’t Notice the Miles Flying past Us
When we started walking, one to two miles per session was a big deal. Pretty soon, that didn’t feel like enough, and we would keep going. Oftentimes, one of us was telling a story or sharing something personal, and we would just keep on walking just to hear the rest of the conversation. One time, we even walked seven miles, before we realized it was time to head home!

5. And…We Increased Our Stamina
Well, of course we did. You didn’t think we were going to walk five miles a day, and not improve our fitness at all, did you? (Kidding.) Not only did our bodies become stronger, but our minds and spirits did as well. (Sorry, I had to!)

This post originally appeared on The Haute Mommy Handbook.