9 health benefits of a morning walk
Simple, energising, free and easy on your joints, walking is a fantastic way to get moving and increase the physical activity in your daily routine.
When you wake up in the morning, exercise may not be at the top of your priority list. But starting your day with a walk, whether it be around your local park, beach or to the local café, can provide your mind and body with a number of health benefits.
Here are 9 health benefits of a morning walk:
1. Natural boost of energy
A brisk walk to start your day can leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Studies have found that regular exercise such as walking, can have a significant role in increasing your energy levels. It helps in reducing fatigue, keeping you feeling energised throughout your day.
The next time you feel tired when you wake up, lacing up your shoes and taking a walk can provide that natural boost of energy you may be looking for.
2. Improved mental health
Improved self-esteem, better mood, reduction in stress and anxiety – a morning walk can offer excellent benefits for your mental health. Not only does it give you time out to think, reflect and clear your mind, exercise helps to release endorphins and serotonin, which are your body’s natural mood and self-esteem enhancers. Studies have suggested regular walking can also be a great natural way to manage and prevent depression and anxiety.
3. Deeper sleep
Being active can boost the effects of melatonin (natural sleep hormone) which can help you fall asleep easier. A morning walk is not only a great way to see the sunrise or catch up with friends, exposing yourself to the bright morning sun can assist in setting your natural circadian rhythm which improves your sleep cycle, promoting a healthy night’s sleep. The result of a good night’s sleep allows you to feel more alert and energised throughout the day.
4. It boosts your brain health
Walking has a number of excellent physical health benefits, but did you know, fitting a morning walk into your daily schedule can boost your brain function. Researchers have found walking increases the supply of blood to the brain which is linked to improved cognitive function, memory, concentration and problem solving.
Moderate exercise such as walking, has also been found to improve the brains resistance to Alzheimer’s disease and reduce the effects of memory loss over time.
5. It improves your heart health
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. The Heart Foundation found walking for an average of 30 minutes a day can lower your risk of heart disease by 35%.
Researchers found people who incorporate regular walking into their daily routine, have fewer heart attacks and strokes while also maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
6. Stay connected
Whether it is around your neighbourhood or along the beach in the morning, a morning walk is an excellent opportunity to make friends, be social and be part of your local community all whilst staying active.
Becoming part of an organised walking group is a great way to meet like-minded people. Organised walking groups cater for different age groups, walking distances and fitness levels. Studies have found that outdoor walking groups also have wide-ranging health benefits including reduced blood pressure, body fat, cholesterol levels and risk of depression and anxiety.
7. Reduced risk of diabetes
Walking may be one of the simplest forms of physical activity, but it can be very effective in preventing diabetes and other various age related diseases. One study found going for a daily 30 minute walk, can protect against both type-2 diabetes and obesity.
Regular walking increases your body’s ability to respond to insulin, whilst improving blood sugar control which aids in lowering your risk of diabetes, and allows greater diabetes management for those diagnosed with the disorder.
8. It improves your balance
Not only does a morning walk help you feel energised to take on your day, it can assist in building lower body-strength, which is an important element of good balance. A combination of walking, strength training and stretch exercises can improve your balance and prevent falls, which unfortunately can be a common occurrence as you age.
9. It reduces muscle and joint pain
Getting out of bed in the morning can be a difficult task for some due to muscle stiffness and joint pain. Going for a morning walk can help protect your joints through lubricating and strengthening the muscles around the joints.
As you age, chronic illnesses such as arthritis can become a prevalent issue. As walking is a low-impact activity on your joints, it can be a great way to relieve arthritis pain, stiffness and swelling.
Note: Before starting your day with a walk, be sure to incorporate stretching as part of your routine. Whenever you start any kind of new exercises, it is important to listen to your own body and speak to your local GP before undertaking a new exercise routine.