When you wake up in the morning, movement isn’t your first priority. But starting your day with a walk—whether it’s around your neighborhood or on your way to work or school—can provide your body with many health benefits.
Here are 10 reasons why you might want to start your day in a few steps. Here are some tips to seamlessly incorporate it into your daily routine.
1. Increase Your Energy
Starting your day with a work-out can give you more energy throughout the day. Exercise outdoors is especially beneficial.
Studies show that adults who walked outside for 20 minutes experienced more vitality and energy than those who walked indoors for 20 minutes.
One small study found that 10 minutes of stair walking was more energizing than a cup of coffee for 18 women who felt sleep-deprived.
The next time you need a boost of energy in the morning or feel tired when you wake up, you can try a walk.
2. Improve Your Mood
Morning walk also has physical benefits.
Taking a walk can help:
- improve self esteem
- mood boost
- edge off
- reduce worry
- reduce fatigue
- Reducing the symptoms of depression or reducing the risk of depression
For best results, try to walk for 20 to 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.
3. Round up your physical activity for the day
One benefit of running in the morning is that you’ll finish your physical activity for the day — before any other family, work, or school obligations derail you.
The American Heart Association recommends 75 minutes of exercise per week.
To meet these requirements, try to complete a 30-minute walk 5 mornings a week.
4. It Can Help You Lose Weight
Taking a walk in the morning can help you meet your weight loss goals. Walking for 30 minutes at a moderate pace will burn up to 150 calories. With a healthy diet and strength training, you can lose weight.
5. Prevent or Manage Health Conditions
Walking can provide many benefits for your health, including boosting your immunity, as well as helping you prevent and manage a variety of health conditions.
Studies show that walking at an average pace for 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of heart disease by 19 percent. If you are living with diabetes, walking can also help lower your blood sugar levels.
It may also help increase your lifespan and reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers.
6. Build Muscles
Walking can help strengthen your leg muscles. In order to get the best results, you must be consistent and persistent. Try changing up your routine and going up stairs, running up and down hills, or walking on an incline on the treadmill.
Incorporate leg-strengthening exercises such as squats and lunges several times a week for greater muscle tone.
7. Improve Mental Clarity
A morning walk can improve clarity, providing you with an upbeat and optimistic outlook on your day. A recent study found that older adults who started their day with a morning walk had an improvement in cognitive function compared to those who remained sedentary.
Walking can also help you think more creatively. Research shows that walking opens up a freer flow of thoughts, which can help you problem-solve better if you are sitting or staying seated. This is especially the case if you walk outside.
The next time you have a morning meeting or brainstorming session, suggest that your coworkers go for a walk with you, if possible.
8. Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Taking a walk first can help you sleep better later in the night. A small 2017 study looked at older adults aged 55 to 65 who were experiencing difficulty sleeping through the night or living with mild insomnia.
Morning versus evening exercisers experienced better sleep at night. A 2010 study by the Sleep Research Laboratory (USA) suggests that morning exercise might help improve sleep.
9. Beat the Heat
One benefit of morning walks in the summer — or if you live in a climate where it’s hot year-round — is that you’ll get too hot before you can fit in the exercise.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and after your workout. Bring a water bottle with you if needed. Or, plan to walk the water fountain route.
10. Make Healthy Choices Throughout the Day
Starting your day with a walk allows you to make healthy choices throughout the day. After you walk, you may feel more energized and less sleep-deprived.
When your energy plummets or you’re tired, you’re more likely to reach for comfort snacks or energy boosters. Taking a walk in the morning can motivate you to choose healthier lunches and snacks in the afternoon.
make it a part of your routine
- Set out clothes for a walk the night before. Leave your socks and sneakers by the door so you don’t have to look at them in the morning.
- Try to set your alarm 30 minutes earlier so that you can take at least 20 minutes of walking in the morning. You can also walk around your neighborhood or find a nature trail nearby.
- Find a friend or colleague to take you for a morning walk. Chatting and working together can help keep you motivated.
- You can make your morning commute more enjoyable by walking. If you can’t walk all the way to work, try to get off the bus a stop or two early to walk. Or, park away from your office so you can walk to your car.
Should I walk before breakfast or after?
If you walk in the morning, you may wonder whether walking before or after breakfast matters and will help if you have weight-loss goals. Research on whether skipping breakfast will increase your metabolism or help you lose weight faster is mixed.
Some research shows that exercising in a fasted state (before breakfast) helps your body burn more fat. But more study is needed.
Meanwhile, it depends on your body. It doesn’t matter if you like to take a walk before eating, or if your stomach feels better if you don’t eat. Or, you may find that you feel better having a small snack like a banana or fruit smoothie before going on a walk.
Either way, after exercising, make sure you eat a healthy breakfast and drink plenty of water.
Starting your day with a short walk can bring you many health benefits. You may feel more energized throughout the day, notice an improvement in your mood and mental clarity, and sleep better at night. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and after your walk.
If you have further questions, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.