While getting a brisk walk in at other times of the day is always beneficial, a morning walk carries some real advantages. We’re here to highlight some of the ways starting your morning with a walk can jumpstart your day and enrich your life in body, mind and spirit. Who knows? You might be inspired to start your New Year with a fresh exercise routine that will last a lifetime.
Keeps You Consistent
Research has shown that more than 90% of those who exercise consistently have a morning exercise routine. Unexpected events often arise throughout the day and push our exercise off the schedule. A morning walk helps us to stay consistent.
Boosts Your Metabolism
Walking in the morning jumpstarts your metabolism and keeps it elevated throughout the day. If you save your activity for later in the day, you’ll miss out on many of the benefits of an elevated metabolism, such as more energy and a more refreshed, rejuvenated you.
Improves Your Heart Health
Researchers found people who incorporate regular walking into their lives have fewer heart attacks and strokes while also maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation, and a reduced risk of heart disease — a walk to start your day can be a great way to keep your heart healthy and prevent high blood pressure. Walking for an average of 30 minutes a day can lower your risk of heart disease by 35%.
Protects Your Muscles and Joints
Walking in the morning can help protect your joints by lubricating and strengthening the muscles around the joints. This leads to less pain and discomfort, adding to the long list of benefits of a morning walk.
Enhances Your Mental Health
A daily morning walk can lead to improved self-esteem, better mood and a reduction in stress and anxiety. Not only does this sacred time give you an opportunity to think, reflect and clear your mind, your morning walk helps to release endorphins and serotonin, which are your body’s natural mood and self-esteem enhancers. Studies have shown that regular walking can also be a great natural way to manage and prevent mental health conditions, depression and anxiety.
Keeps Your Brain Sharp
Exercise helps you stay mentally alert. Think of the benefits of having a sharp, focused mind all day — if you choose to exercise at the end of the day, you won’t reap the benefits of that boost quite as long.
Promotes Better Sleep
Being active can boost the effects of melatonin, a natural sleep hormone, which can help you fall asleep easier. But exposing yourself to the bright morning sun for your walk to start the day can assist in setting your natural circadian rhythm, improving your sleep cycle and promoting a good night’s sleep.
Simplifies Your Schedule
Exercising in the morning gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you have already gotten your activity in for the day. By getting your morning walk, you don’t have to worry about trying to juggle your workout time around a busy schedule as the day progresses.
Motivates You for More Daily Physical Activity
With exercise, sometimes we carry an all-or-none mentality. We often think if we don’t get the activity we want just when we want it, then it’s not worth it. But research shows that an accumulation of just three 10-minute sessions a day can make a tremendous impact on our health. Every minute helps. Starting one of those sessions with a morning walk keeps you on track and motivates the rest of your day.
Tips To Keep You Walking
Here are some tips to get the most out of your walks:
- Alter your walking route day to day so you don’t get bored
- If you typically use a treadmill, get outside to take advantage of the health benefits of fresh air and sunshine
- Invest in good shoes and comfortable clothing
- Remember to incorporate stretching before and after you walk
- Walk at least three days a week if you’re doing vigorous “power walks,” or at least five days a week if your walks are brisk but comfortable
- Walk with a friend — you’re more likely to keep to your routine if someone helps keep you accountable; you’ll also have the benefit of companionship
Reach Out to Your Partner in Whole-Person Health
Remember, whenever you start any kind of new exercise routine, it’s important to listen to what your body needs and to have a chat with your primary care provider first to make sure you’re exercising safely.