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Health Benefits of a Morning Walk

Going on a morning walk and building a routine around it can have wonderful effects on your physical and mental health. 

How Walking in the Morning Improves Your Health

Studies have found that 1 hour of brisk walking can increase your life expectancy by 2 hours. Regular morning walks can also help you: 

  • Feeling better
  • Lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer
  • Clear your mind
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase energy
  • Improve memory and lower your risk of dementia
  • Boost your mental and emotional health
  • Prevent weight gain

You can see these effects by elevating your heart rate during your walk. For maximum benefits, devote at least 150 minutes a week to your morning walk routine.  

The Benefits of a Morning Walk

Walking is an appealing form of exercise. Most people can do it, and there are plenty of benefits:

Boosts immune function. Walking daily can reduce your risk of catching a cold or the flu. Studies have shown that people who walk at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, have 43% fewer sick days. And if you get sick, you’re likely to have milder symptoms.  

Better circulation. When you walk, your heart rate goes up, and this lowers your blood pressure. It improves your heart health over time and helps your overall circulation. You can also reduce your risk of stroke by walking 2 miles a day. 

Joint support. Your joints squish together when you walk. This movement and compression open them to get joint fluid. That allows more oxygen and nutrients to get into your joints, which helps them work and feel better.

Strengthens muscles. Going on morning walks can help you tone your leg and abdominal muscles. Stronger muscles give you a wider range of motion and improve your overall strength and health. The pressure of moving is also shifted from your joints to your muscles. 

Clears your mind. Walking has been shown to help your brain function better. People of all ages had better cognitive abilities while walking. Some people like to take walks when they’re thinking about something or trying to solve problems.

Boost mental health. Studies have shown that regular walks can improve your mood. They also find that walking can reduce mild to moderate symptoms of depression. 

Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s. A study of men ages 71 to 93 found that walking more than a quarter-mile each day had benefits: fewer cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Brief but consistent walks can have great effects on your mind and body. 

The Effects of Walking in the Morning on Mental Health

Getting up and heading out for a morning walk is great for your mental health. Most studies show that walking 20 to 30 minutes or more has the best results. Staying consistent 5 days or more each week is also important. 

Morning walks tend to start and end your day in a good mood. They can also help your creativity. Studies have shown that getting up and moving helps you be more creative than sitting. Walking also helps you get better sleep, which results in an overall better mood the next morning. 

When you go on walks and get other forms of exercise, your body releases hormones that make you feel better mentally and emotionally. They include: 

  • Dopamine, which decreases stress and depression
  • Serotonin, which helps you sleep and boosts your mood
  • Testosterone in men, which improves strength and muscle mass
  • Estrogen in women, which can reduce the symptoms of menopause

Tips for Walking in the Morning

Getting up early can be a challenge if you like to stay up late and sleep in. If you want to make walking in the morning a part of your new routine, there are some ways to motivate yourself: 

  • Get your clothes and shoes ready the night before
  • Create a fun, upbeat playlist
  • Stretch before and after your walk
  • Wear reflective clothes if you’re walking in the dark so drivers can see you

Make sure your walking goals are realistic. Aim for 30 minutes of movement or exercise each day. But do what feels right for your body. You can slowly increase how far or how long your walks are.

If you miss a day, don’t let it ruin your routine. It’s OK to have an off day and start right back up the next day. 

To keep your morning walks enjoyable, you should also consider changing up your route. Having new things to look at and see can give you something to look forward to in the morning. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: “Walking 101,” “Why is Walking the Most Popular Form of Exercise?”

Arthritis Foundation: “12 Benefits of Walking.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “5 surprising benefits of walking.”

Mayo Clinic: “Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health.”

Piedmont Healthcare: “5 benefits of morning exercise,” “How exercise helps balance hormones.”

UNC Health: “6 Brain Benefits of Walking.”

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