Eight Ways a Morning Walk Will Improve Your Life
The addition of a morning walk into my daily routine came about because my weight loss had stalled out. I couldn’t lose the last ten pounds that I had easily kept off in college and I couldn’t think of why. I had the same diet and exercise routine that I had used all through college but I just couldn’t get down to my previous weight.
Then it hit me: I used to walk to class every day. I lived about a 20 minute walk from campus so at least five days a week I’d be walking for at least 45 minutes to get to and from classes.
So, I added a 45 minute walk to my daily routine. The last ten pounds slid right off. Here are some other benefits that I have noticed since adding walking back into my life.
You are more ready to face the day
When you go for a walk first thing in the morning you raise your blood pressure. This helps to clear away the fog of the night before. I no longer start my work yawning and groggy but rather focused and alert.
It helps you to relax
There are a number of studies out there which provide evidence that walking helps to reduce general stress levels. Even without the studies it makes sense on an intuitive level. Who do you think is more stressed out, the person who goes on a morning stroll or the person who jumps out of bed and has thirty minutes to get to the office?
It preferentially burns fat
While you’re asleep your body depletes most of your glycogen stores (your body’s way of storing glucose). If you go on a morning run on an empty stomach you deplete what is left of your glycogen stores and your body has to start consuming lean muscle to generate glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis. Keeping your heart rate in the 55-75% of max range means that your body is preferentially burning fat for fuel over carbohydrate.
It allows you to think
During our waking hours we are constantly assaulted with demands on our attention. Moving from one task to the other until we get home and collapse on the couch with no other desire in the world other to unwind. There is little to no room for deep thoughts in this environment.
Getting up before the rest of the world to go for a morning walk is not only refreshing, it helps you to organize your thoughts. It allows for a period of uninterrupted thought where you can reflect on your life.
It allows you to plan your day
Being more intentional with how you go through your day is a pleasant benefit of taking a morning stroll. Rather than being on your heels all day because you had to jump out of bed and race to the office you can now be proactive with your day as you have organized it in your mind.
It allows you to observe the world
When you are driving to the office you are focused on the task of driving. If you’re not, you’re probably the person causing the traffic accident. This doesn’t afford you much time to wonder at the world around you. Everything is concrete and steel and then you head into the office and are consumed by work. Take some time in the morning to engage with the world around you.
It helps you get to sleep
People who engage in regular physical exercise have an easier time falling asleep than those who do not. This is thought to be due to the fact that exercise boosts the effect of sleep hormones, like melatonin. There have also been studies that show that those who do morning exercise spend 75% more time in deep sleep than those who do not.
Being sedentary will cause your health to decline
Studies are pouring out about the detriments of living a sedentary lifestyle. Some people are even saying that it is as bad for you as smoking! The Mayo Clinic suggests that those who live a sedentary lifestyle have a 125% increased risk of experiencing an event related to cardiovascular disease. Add some movement to your day to fight those risks.
Well, I hope this has given you some reasons to add a morning walk to your daily routine. There is no easier way to meet your exercise goals than by walking and it will provide a host of benefits for you and your health.