Health Benefits by Starting Your Day With a Walk
Starting your day with a walk can be an effective way to experience a variety of physical and mental health benefits.
Here, we’ll look at how a walk in the morning can improve your health and tips for making a morning walk part of your routine.
10 Health Benefits of a Morning Walk
Walking is often underrated, but it is an appealing form of exercise for a variety of reasons. Most individuals can do it, it is low impact, it is free, and it requires no equipment aside from comfortable clothes and a supportive pair of walking shoes.
Here are some of the proven health benefits of a morning walk.
1. Natural Energy Boost
Many people rely on coffee for a natural energy boost, but a morning walk can also help wake you up and get you ready for the day. Starting your day with a walk can help naturally boost your energy throughout the day, especially if you walk outside.
2. Immune System Support
Walking daily provides support for your immune system, leading to a reduced chance of getting sick. If you do get sick, you will likely experience milder symptoms. Aim to walk at least five days a week for 20 to 30 minutes a day to reap these benefits.
3. Weight Loss Support
A morning walk can help you reach your weight loss goals, especially when combined with a strength training routine and a healthy, balanced diet.
Walking can help you lose weight in a variety of ways. For instance, the effects walking has on energy levels and mood can help you stick to your exercise routine and help you make healthier choices during the day.
4. Improved Circulation
Walking increases your heart rate and lowers blood pressure. This helps support overall circulation as well as heart health.
5. Stronger Muscles and Joints
Taking regular morning walks can help you build lean muscle, leading to improvements in overall health and strength and a wider range of motion.
To boost your muscle-building results from walking, aim to:
- Walk at a moderate to a brisk pace and make sure your heart rate gets elevated
- Add hills to your walking routine to increase the challenge
- Walk at an incline if you are walking indoors on a treadmill
- Include leg-strengthening exercises such as lunges and squats as part of your weekly exercise routine
Walking also helps gently support joints by allowing more nutrients and oxygen to get into your joints due to the movement and compression that occurs during a walk.
6. Improved Sleep Quality
Walking right away in the morning, or participating in another form of exercise outdoors, may lead to better sleep at night. Regular outdoor morning exercise outdoors can improve sleep rhythms and encourage your body to produce melatonin, a hormone associated with controlling the sleep-wake cycle, earlier in the evening. This may lead to deeper, higher-quality sleep.
7. Improved Clarity
Walking helps support brain function, leading to improved clarity and better cognitive function. This may be the reason some people enjoy trying to solve a problem or thinking about an issue over a walk.
8. Meet Your Weekly Physical Activity Requirements
Walking counts toward weekly exercise recommendations (adults should get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderately-paced exercise each week). A major benefit of walking right away in the morning is that it ensures you meet your physical activity requirements for the day before obligations or unexpected responsibilities get in the way.
9. Mental Health Support
Getting up and taking a morning walk is an amazing way to naturally support your mental health. Regular walks can help naturally improve mood, self-esteem, reduce feelings of anxiety, and help improve your emotional and mental well-being.
10. Creativity Boost
Need to get some ideas flowing? Try adding a morning walk to your routine. Walking can help boost mental clarity and increase your creativity, especially if you walk outside.
Tips for Walking in the Morning
It can be tempting to hit the snooze button and stay in bed in the morning, but the right tips can help motivate you to make a morning walk part of your routine. There are also important safety tips to keep in mind when walking in the morning.
Here are some tips for making a morning walk part of your routine:
- Wear reflective clothing
- Stretch before and after your walk
- Set out your clothes and shoes the night before
- Create a playlist filled with upbeat songs you can listen to during your walk
- If you live in a hot climate, walking early in the day can help you beat the heat. Make sure to bring along plenty of water to stay hydrated and wear adequate sun protection.
Should I Walk Before or After Breakfast?
Should I walk before or after I eat? This is a common question but the answer remains somewhat unclear due to mixed research on the subject.
While some researchers believe skipping breakfast before exercising may help increase metabolism and speed up weight loss, additional studies are needed.
The best approach is listening to your body. If walking on an empty stomach feels fine, then stick with it. If you feel better after consuming a small meal or healthy snack before your walk, listen to your body and do what works best for you.
Either way, be sure to consume a healthy snack or breakfast and plenty of water after your morning walk.
Tips for Getting Started with a Morning Walk
- Make sure you set realistic goals
- Aim for a 30-minute walk five times a week (start with two or three days a week or only 15 minutes at a time and work up from there if needed)
- Change up your route to stay motivated and prevent boredom (try finding different walking trails or nature trails)
- Find a friend or co-worker to walk with
- Walk to work instead of driving, if possible
- Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program
- If you skip a day of walking, remember that it is okay to take a day or two off and start back up with your routine again
Starting the day with a morning walk can lead to a variety of health benefits, including a natural energy boost, improved well-being, increased mental clarity, and more. Does your exercise routine include a morning walk? If not, we hope this article inspires you to get started.
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