We all have our morning routines. Some like to start the day with a jog, others with a coffee in bed. Some people wake up early feeling refreshed, while others take some time to get going. How you start your day will determine how you feel for the rest of it.
Going for a walk is a great activity to add to your morning routine. You’ll be surprised by how many health benefits it can provide. Going for a walk for 30-minutes each morning could make significant changes to your health. Plus, it’s free!
Benefits of morning walk
Often people with mental health problems find that the morning is the most challenging part of the day. It can feel difficult to even get out of bed, particularly for sufferers of depression.
If you experience any mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety, going for a morning walk a few times a week could help to improve your mood. Walking releases endorphins and serotonin, both “happy chemicals” in the brain.
Also, the fresh air, nature, and exercise will give you a healthy start to your mornings and make the rest of your day feel brighter. Going for just a 20 or 30-minute morning walk a few days per week could have positive lasting effects on your mood.
As well as this, walking can help to reduce stress and improve self-esteem. It can be an excellent opportunity to think things over or reflect on recent events. This gives you a chance to process your feelings and come home feeling emotionally rejuvenated.
Reduced risk of heart issues
Exercise doesn’t have to be intensive or complicated; you can notice health benefits from regular gentle walking. For example, walking improves the blood circulation around your body and keeps blood pressure in a healthy range.
This, in turn, lowers the risk of blood clots and heart disease. It also results in fewer heart attacks and strokes in regular walkers. Studies have shown that a 30-minute morning walk every day can reduce the risk of heart disease by 35%.
There are further health benefits of morning walks. Regular walking can help to prevent diabetes and obesity. It is a simple but effective way to exercise and lose weight.
Walking burns fat more than carbohydrates, while a run or a more intense workout will burn carbs first, then fat. So, although hitting the gym might help you lose weight quicker, morning walks can be a more straightforward and less demanding way to lose weight.
Prevent or improve diabetes
Preventing weight gain can help to prevent Type 2 diabetes as well. Also, regular walking can help the body improve how it responds to insulin and therefore control blood sugar levels better. So, walking regularly could prevent or reduce the impact of diabetes by keeping sugar levels low.
Boost of energy
Morning walks are a great way to start the day. They give you the boost of energy you need to get through the rest of the day. In addition, engaging in regular exercise can increase your energy levels and make you less likely to experience fatigue throughout the day.
A morning walk in the fresh air will help you feel energized as it’ll get your blood circulating. This will increase the oxygen levels in the brain, allowing you to feel focused and mentally prepared for your day.
A brisk walk in the morning can also help you avoid sugary snacks throughout the day. After a walk, you will feel more energized, so you are less likely to reach for chocolate or snacks.
We crave these foods when our energy levels drop, as we want a quick boost. So, if your energy levels are higher from your morning walk, you won’t need to snack later on.
Have you ever noticed that if you have a bit of a lazy day, you struggle to sleep well that night? That is because exercise helps you produce melatonin, which helps with sleep.
Melatonin is a natural chemical in the body that contributes to standard sleep patterns. People who do not naturally create enough melatonin will often have sleep problems due to an irregular circadian rhythm.
Exposure to natural light can help to correct this issue. It helps to reintroduce a sleep-wake cycle corresponding to natural light and darkness. Making a morning walk part of your daily routine can improve your circadian rhythm and help with sleep.
Sleeping well will improve your mood, reduce stress, and help you generally feel better in the mornings.
Improved brain function
One of the most essential benefits of morning walks is an improvement in brain function. Walking, especially in the outside air, increases the blood flow to the brain. This results in improved cognitive function, better memory, and improved concentration.
Going for a morning walk can make your work, or general life easier as your problem-solving abilities improve along with your cognitive function. Also, exercise can reduce the risk of developing memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s. So, there are many cognitive benefits of morning walks.
Reduce pain in muscles and joints
Walking is a light exercise with very little impact on the joints and muscles. Because of this, it can be a good physical activity for those who experience joint pain. For example, those who suffer from arthritis might find walking relieves some of their aches. It can strengthen and lubricate the joints without causing discomfort.
Similarly, walking may help to prevent arthritis as it provides a gentle stretch for the muscles. This is especially effective on an early morning walk after your body has been still during the night. Walking in the morning will help to loosen up your body, so you don’t experience as many aches and pains throughout the day.
Walking isn’t just great for your physical health; it can also be a great way to spend time with friends. Try arranging a group walk with people you know, or go to busy walking spots where you bump into friendly faces every day.
This is especially fun if you have a dog; the pooches can play while catching up with your friend.In addition, morning exercise and socializing will provide many physical and mental benefits. Research suggests this can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Should I eat before walking in the morning?
The answer to this is up to you and depends on how you feel in the morning and what you hope to gain from regular morning walks. For example, it is fine if you wake up starving and want to eat breakfast before your walk. It won’t negatively impact you while providing you with some energy.
However, some research suggests it is harder to burn fat while your insulin levels are high. This means that if you want to lose a bit of weight, it is probably better not to eat anything before your walk.
If you need a bit of extra energy but don’t want to eat a full breakfast, you could grab a banana before heading out. However, if you don’t eat beforehand, ensure you eat a good breakfast when you return, as you will need the energy after a brisk walk.
You will still notice numerous health benefits from your morning walks whenever you decide to eat. Either way, physical activity will do your body well, so do what is best for you.
Are our morning walks or evening walks better for me?
The best time to go for a walk is first thing in the morning. Walking in the evening is still a good healthy activity but may have slightly fewer benefits than an early walk.
Heading out just after you wake up is a great way to start the day, boost your energy, and help you focus on the day’s tasks. In addition, it can limber up your body and your mind. So it is most beneficial in the morning when you have the whole day ahead of you.
Morning walks are also better for helping with sleep hygiene. The early morning air and sunlight can help with your circadian rhythm and make sleeping easier.
Walking at any other time is also beneficial to your body and mind, so don’t worry if you can’t go out first thing! Your body will still thank you for being active!
Whatever kind of lifestyle you have, and whatever age you are, morning walks could change your life for the better. The fresh air and exercise can make the day ahead feel more enjoyable. Plus, it can have some brilliant long-lasting benefits for your health.
Whether you are a young professional or a retired pensioner, getting out for an early morning walk will provide numerous benefits that you will begin to notice almost instantly. Add a daily walk to your routine, soon becoming a habit.
Plan a walk with your friends, or give yourself some alone time to reflect and reap your body and mind rewards! And it’s all free, so you don’t have to spend a single penny!