Your first priority might not necessarily be movement when you wake up in the morning. Perhaps a walk in the morning - whether it is in your neighbourhood or as part of your commute to work or school - offers your body a number of health benefits.
We've compiled a list of 10 reasons why you should start your day with a walk. Moreover, there are a few tips to integrate it seamlessly into your daily schedule.
How Walking in the Morning Improves Your Health
As per studies, a daily one-hour brisk walk enhances the life expectancy of an individual by 2 hours. One of the benefits of morning walks is that they provide a better and energetic feel throughout the day, resulting in stress-free work.
The importance of morning walks arises from the following benefits:
- Enhances energy level and clears a stressful mind.
- Reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, etc
- Inhaling fresh air in the morning provides relaxation.
Benefits of Morning Walk
1) Boosts energy level:
According to studies, 20 minutes of outdoor walking consistently boosts one’s energy level. Regular morning walks burn the body's stored calories, acting as a natural energy booster.
2) Minimizes the risk of diabetes:
One of the advantages of morning walks, particularly a brisk walk, is that you can burn approximately 300 calories with a short one. Hence, it reduces fat and utilizes stored sugar, thereby regulating the blood sugar level. This is the reason why a morning walk is important for diabetes.
3) Improves sleep cycle:
Including morning walk in your daily routine helps cure a disturbed sleep cycle. It calms one's mind, allowing one to have a peaceful sleep.
4) Improves mental health:
A morning walk eliminates daily stress and anxiety, making it easier to deal with depression and other mental health conditions.
5) Helps obtain clarity:
Investing at least 30 minutes in a morning walk releases serotonin and endorphins, which are natural mood-enhancing body hormones. These help one think and reflect in any situation.
6) Optimizes brain functioning:
A light morning walk ensures better blood circulation, thereby enhancing the oxygen flow in the blood. High oxygen levels improve memory, concentration, cognitive function, and problem-solving ability.
7) Improves blood circulation:
Walking raises the heart rate, lowering the blood pressure. It improves blood circulation, enabling an increased flow of oxygen in the blood.
8) Provides joint support:
Movement and compression while walking open up the joints for enhanced joint fluid levels. Further, it allows a better supply of oxygen and nutrients to them.
9) Makes muscles strong:
Regular morning walk tones up the abdominal and leg muscles. The stronger the muscles are, the better your strength and mobility.
10) Decreases the risk of miscarriage:
In the first 3 months of pregnancy, hormonal changes lead to various alterations in women's bodies. These are better controlled through a brisk morning walk. It also protects against uterine contractions that can lead to miscarriage.
11) Protection against breast and cervical cancer:
Many women develop these two cancers, often caused due to hectic and unhealthy lifestyles. A daily morning walk boosts one’s general health, preventing these diseases and other conditions.
12) Boosts immune function:
Walking is one exercise that keeps frequent coughs and flu away due to enhanced body immunity.
13) Morning Walk for Glowing Skin:
A light morning walk improves hormonal balance in women, which contributes to glowing skin and shinier hair. Dermatologists suggest a moderate-paced, 30-minute morning walk for healthy and glowing skin.
Regular morning walks slow down the aging process, help fight acne and pimples and also avoid several skin problems.
14) Prevents stroke risk:
The advantages of morning walks are reflected in a reduced risk of stroke and other heart diseases due to enhanced blood circulation.
15) Morning Walk for Weight Loss:
You can develop the habit of a morning walk for weight loss goals. A daily morning walk of approx 30 minutes at a moderate pace burns around 150 calories. Hence, a proper diet and morning walk aid weight loss.
The Effects of Walking in the Morning on Mental Health
Waking up early and walking for approximately 25-30 minutes daily improves mental health. As it acts as an energy-booster, one can work with enhanced creativity and balanced moods.
Moreover, a morning walk improves sleep, which automatically helps stabilize the mind the following day. A daily morning walk before any other exercise activates hormonal release, making one feel mentally and emotionally better.
Pro Tips to Make Morning Walk Easier
- Layout your clothing for your walk the night before. Make it easy for yourself in the morning by leaving your socks and sneakers by the door.
- Try setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier to give yourself time for a 20-minute walk in the morning. Take a walk around the neighbourhood or find a nature trail nearby.
- Grab a friend or a co-worker and go for a walk. Talking and working with someone will maintain your motivation.
- You might consider walking during your morning commute if you are short on time. If you cannot walk all the way to work, get off the bus a few stops early and go to work as a walk-in. You could also park further away from your office and walk from your car.
Should You Walk Before or After Breakfast?
Walking in the morning may have you wondering if you should walk before or after breakfast and whether it will help you lose weight faster. Research on whether skipping breakfast will speed up your metabolism is mixed.
It has been found that exercising in the fasting state (before breakfast) allows your body to burn more fat. However, more research is needed.
In the meantime, it depends on how your body feels. If it feels better for you not to eat or take a walk, that's fine. Or, when you're feeling hungry, you may want to eat a banana or fruit smoothie before you go walking.
Either way, after you exercise, make sure you eat a healthy breakfast and drink plenty of water.
What to Eat After Morning Walk
Carbohydrates like sweet or white potato, brown rice, chickpeas or lentils (which are also high in protein) are recommended, while a bowl of porridge oats or a slice of rye toast will do the trick in the morning.
Disadvantages of Morning Walk
Walking is a cardiovascular form of exercise, which does not burn enough calories if one is walking at a lower or moderate speed. It also does not focus on strengthening the upper section of the body. It can even reduce overall cardiovascular fitness as it is a moderate form of exercise.
Summing Up on Benefits of Morning Walk
Starting your day with a short walk can offer a number of health benefits. You may feel more energized throughout the day, see your mood and mental clarity improve, and sleep better at night. Be sure to stretch before and after your walk and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If you have more questions, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
1) Can I Sleep After Morning Walk
After exercising, taking a nap can help muscles recover. When you sleep, your pituitary gland releases growth hormones. Your muscles need this hormone to repair and build tissue. This is essential for muscle growth, athletic performance, and reaping the benefits of physical activity
2) Why Morning Walk Is Important for Diabetes
By walking every day for 30 minutes to an hour, people with diabetes can reap the following benefits:
- Improved glucose control - By exercising, blood sugar is absorbed into the muscle cells, preventing it from accumulating. It can last for a few hours or even a few days, but it isn't permanent. This is why walking regularly is important for blood glucose control.
- Better cardiovascular fitness - As diabetics are at an increased risk for heart disease, this is an important benefit.
- Weight control - By walking regularly, you burn calories and control your weight, which reduces health risks.
3) How Long Should You Walk in the Morning?
Doctors recommend that you walk briskly for 30 minutes in the morning, four or five times a week. To start, set smaller goals and walk for 10 to 15 minutes, increasing the time gradually.
4) Can I Drink Water Before Morning Walk?
Drinking water prior to walking or any form of exercise will keep your body hydrated. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you're not hydrated, your body can't perform at its highest level.