25 Surprising Health Benefits of Morning Walks
One of the best things to do when you’re feeling lazy or are not in the mood to hit the gym is to go for a walk early in the morning. It’s simple, free, and just takes a little bit of your time. Plus, you get to observe your surroundings instead of mindlessly running on a treadmill. If you’ve always wondered what the benefits of taking morning walks are or what makes them so special, keep reading.
Morning Walk Essentials
A little bit of preparation for those walks will make you feel ready and more motivated. Here are some essentials you’ll need before you go on your early morning adventure.
- A pair of walking shoes
- Water bottle
- Sports bra and cap
- T-shirt and track pants (or joggers)
- A fitness tracker (optional -for tracking your steps, heart rate, and physical activity statistics)
What are the Benefits of Morning Walks?
Here are 25 benefits of taking morning walks. You’ll thank us later once you start experiencing them.
1. Inculcates Discipline
There’s something mystical about discipline. It may seem like something out of your reach when you live a sedentary lifestyle. But morning walks can be your wake-up call and once you start building momentum and walk every day, you’ll find yourself enjoying it. If you’re struggling to build new habits, start by taking a morning walk and stick to it. You’ll find the rest of your day going so much better too.
2. Builds Energy Levels
Lethargy creates more lethargy while energy creates more energy. The reason we feel depressed, or not motivated enough to get things done is all because of our dipping energy levels. Yes, our diet makes a difference but if we laze around all day, we’ll get sluggish (obviously). Take a morning walk next time and give yourself the chance to feel more energetic throughout the day.
3. It’s Good for Your Heart
A brisk walk early in the mornings is good for your heart. When you elevate your heart rate, your organs circulate blood better and pump oxygen to the heart due to increasing demand. You can slash your risk of heart disease down by a large percentage when you go for a morning walk and stick to it in the long-term.
4. A Great Social Activity
We’re all social creatures and living in isolation is not the answer to health and wellbeing. By going for a morning walk, you’ll be meeting people from all walks of life, making new friends, and socializing more. Who knows, you’ll probably love it so much that you’ll go on group morning walks and try out different routes. But we can tell you one thing – the fun never ends.
5. Builds Positivity
There’s a reason why morning walks are famous and why high-achievers or creative minds swear by them – because it builds positivity. Everybody has a tendency to procrastinate but when you take a walk first thing in the morning and get that out the way, you literally set yourself up for the day. The sense of having accomplished something good ripples throughout the day and affects how you interact with others, do your work and sail through the rest of your day. It’s a simple routine that’s a big game-changer. And it works.
6. Promotes Weight Loss
If you’re watching what you eat and feel that going to the gym is not for you, you can take a morning walk. Morning walks are not HIIT/Cardio but low-impact exercise, which means they’re easy on your joints. You’ll still be burning calories while walking. And when you create a calorie deficit by walking, you lose weight. The benefits of morning walks for weight loss don’t just extend to merely losing weight, but it also reduces your waist size and circumference too, giving you that fine body you’ve always wanted.
7. Lets You Choose Your Pace
One of the best things about morning walks is that they let you choose your pace. For example, anybody can take a morning walk, from the nervous beginner to the seasoned expert. You can even be sedentary and still get in shape through morning walks. You don’t need to have perfect form either when you start out. However, once the weeks roll by and you notice your endurance and energy levels going up, you can modify your walking routine by doing arm exercises or mixing in light jogging with your walks. You can create your very own customized workouts by tapping into the power of walking.
8. Helps You Think Clearly
Morning walks are a sort of a brain-drain or a mental de-cluttering exercise too. If you’ve got a lot of thoughts in your mind and want to de-stress, just take a morning walk. The whiff of fresh air, sunshine, and quiet outdoors will help you connect with your inner self, thus, helping you develop mindfulness. Now, we don’t have to explain the benefits of mindfulness but there’s one thing we agree on- mindfulness gets you into the habit of big-picture thinking by not letting you get lost in the details. And that’s important not only for your mental health but emotional health as well.
9. Lowers Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, taking a morning walk is shown to help lower the risk of getting lifestyle diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and helps the body burn up unnecessary fat stores, thus, regulating one’s BMI. This means your muscles utilize glucose effectively and keep your blood sugar levels in check. That’s great news for diabetics and terrific for pre-diabetics who want to prevent the onset of diabetes.
10. Lowers Your Risk of Arthritis
Your bone density starts dropping after the age of 30 bit by bit due to ageing. And there are studies that show that walking, in fact, reduces your chances of osteoporosis, arthritis, and other bone-degenerative conditions. Walking strengthens the joints, improves the production of joint fluids, and keeps them lubricated – thus, preventing stiffness and loss of mobility. When you strengthen your bones and do impact exercises like brisk walking, you increase your bone density too.
11. Can Help You Prevent Strokes
Walking has been shown to reduce the chances of getting a stroke by a large margin! And all it takes is just spending 30 minutes a day walking for five days a week. It’s really that simple. High blood pressure is one of the leading factors of stroke and morning walks are known to regulate them.
12. Doesn’t Take a Lot of Time
Unlike going to the gym or doing yoga where you have to block out the time or get interrupted in between, you don’t have to worry about that for morning walks. In fact, if you can’t chalk out time for a 30-minute session, you can do 10 minutes of walking in the mornings and fit in the remaining time by spreading it throughout the rest of the day. Sure, it won’t be a morning walk then but at least you’ll be doing some physical activity! And the best part? You don’t need to wear any fancy uniforms or bring any special equipment with you. You can do it anywhere, anytime, and in any way you like.
13. Regulates Cholesterol Levels
One of the biggest factors that lead to heart disease is unhealthy cholesterol levels. You have LDL “bad cholesterol” and HDL “good cholesterol” levels in your body. Walking has been shown to lower LDL levels and boost HDL levels. Walking helps reduce your triglycerides (and the number of blood lipids), thus regulating your cholesterol levels. Everybody knows that imbalanced cholesterol levels are bad for you but walking regulates it.
14. Prevents Atherosclerosis
When plaque builds up in your arterial walls due to high LDL buildup, you get a condition that’s known as atherosclerosis. Your blood circulation gets restricted and your organs don’t function properly because of that, causing serious health complications. You can prevent this by making sure to go on walks every morning for 30 minutes and eating clean.
15. Improves Your Mood
When you go for brisk walks, your body releases endorphins which make you feel good. Neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin levels feel more balanced and that offers relief from depression. Now, we don’t have to talk about what depression is but it is one of the biggest reasons behind sinking into negative lifestyle changes like eating unhealthy, isolating yourself, and staying sedentary. Just a little pick-me-up through walking is enough to lift your mood and beat those symptoms.
16. Improves Your Cognition
Walking improves blood circulation to the brain, carrying more oxygen and supplying it with the nutrients it needs. This makes your mood feel better and your mind more alert. You’ll notice that you make better decisions and think clearly after going on long walks.
17. Tones Your Body Easily
Did you know that walking tones the muscles in your thighs, calves, buttocks, and quads? Yes, and that’s the good news. Who knew toning would be so easy with just long walks in your arsenal. It works if you stick to it. Plus, you’ll look yourself in the mirror and find yourself getting sexier.
18. Boosts Self-Esteem
This is a weird benefit but walking does boost your self-esteem. Think of it this way, when you’re failing in life and can’t seem to get anything right, just by setting out on a bite-sized mission to walk every day can make a difference. You develop respect for yourself since you’re taking the time, making a commitment, and sticking to it. That rewires your brain and slowly builds up the momentum of positivity and good change. The result? A better and more improved you!
19. Increases Your Immunity
Low immunity increases your susceptibility to illness and makes you prone to catching infections, and getting riddled with illnesses and diseases. Walking for half an hour daily boosts your immune system and keeps you protected from various conditions.
20. Helps Beat Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Researchers say that Alzheimer’s and dementia are common neurodegenerative disorders and that walking has been a proven way to reduce the risk of getting these conditions by at least 54%. The key takeaway is that these conditions develop over the years and not suddenly, making them progressive by nature. The good news is that the earlier you start, the sooner you’ll be on a better road to prevention.
21. Makes Your Skin Look Radiant
The better your blood circulation is, the more your skin will glow. This is because toxins purge from the skin, thus eliminating fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of ageing. If you’re facing acne, you’ll notice the benefits of morning walks for the skin from the moment you start. Walking will also cleanse out excess oils and get rid of them, giving you the flawless skin you’ve always desired.
22. Gives You Strong and Healthy Hair
Walking boosts the blood circulation to your scalp too, letting your hair follicles grow to their full potential. Walking helps deliver the nutrients throughout from whatever you eat and to utilize them effectively. Plus, it balances your hormonal levels which play a role in hair growth and preventing hair loss. If you want strong and shiny hair, start walking because it’s doctor-approved advice.
23. Improves Your Quality of Sleep
If you’re tossing, turning, and simply failing to fall asleep – go for a walk. It’ll clear your head and let you purge those thoughts, making falling asleep a lot easier. Plus, with restorative sleep, your days up ahead will become a lot better.
24. Reduces Ageing
Telomeres are the tails of chromosomes which are known to shorten as the years go by. Shorter DNA leads to lesser availability of proteins, thus impacting cell and overall organ functions. This leads to ageing but walking has been shown to slow down this process. When your body gets active, the telomeres don’t shorten too fast, thus letting you age more slowly or gracefully.
25. Improves Your Quality of Life
What happens when all the 24 benefits we’ve listed above add up? Yes, you get the 25th one and that is – improvement in the quality of your life. Your health is worth more than a million dollars and the way you look or feel paves the way for the rest of your years and influence how they turn out.
Just a little walking every day, time, and the power of compounding and you’ll notice how your life starts changing for the better. Why wouldn’t you want to sign up for that?
Tips to Remember While Walking
Here are some simple but helpful tips to remember or keep in mind when you go out for short or long walks.
- Walk on an empty stomach. Don’t eat a heavy meal for at least an hour or two before you go out for a walk
- Take it slow at first. If you’ve been sedentary for years, you can’t expect to clock in 30 minutes from the very start. Start with just 5 or 10 minutes and spread these chunks throughout the day. When you can manage this for a few weeks, increase the timeframe and intensity.
- Don’t forget to carry your sipper or water bottle with you. Stay hydrated and take small sips whenever you feel thirsty. It’ll help you last longer and make your walking experience a lot more enjoyable.
- Warm up and cool down – don’t suddenly bump up the pace out of the blue. Do some light stretches first and get the blood flowing in your body. After your walking session, do some shoulder rolls and stretches for the cool down. Ease your body into and out of the process, never force or tax it. Because if you sprain your muscles or injure yourself, you won’t be able to go for a walk the next day (and you don’t want that).
- Wear the right clothes according to the season – loose and light cotton clothing for the summers and heavier stuff for the winter. Make sure to take your hat and sunscreen with you to keep yourself protected from the UV rays.
- Join a walking club or take your friends along with you to make walking a social activity. It’s a lot more fun to walk together in groups than alone. And if you need real motivation, you can train yourself to participate in walking marathons and grab the spotlight. It’s a good goal to work towards too.
Walking is one of those simple and easy things we take for granted. But a good life and great health aren’t things that happen overnight. It takes time, commitment, and everybody has their own way of going about it. But walking is like the start. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to move towards a healthier and happier you. Don’t forget that and start walking today!