Walking is a great way to start the day. Even a short stroll can enhance your mood and benefit your bod.
Bonus: If you make it a habit, walking eventually decreases your risk of severe health concerns like strokes or heart attacks. #winning
Here are the 8 best benefits of going for morning walks:
- Better sleep
- Improved circulation
- Easy on the joints
- Strengthened muscles
- Boosted mood
- Increased energy
- Make healthier choices
- Weight loss promotion
- Management of health conditions
Keep reading for the deets on each, plus tips on how to add walking to your morning routine.
Morning walks can have a positive impact on your body and mind. Here’s a detailed overview of the physical benefits.
You’ll sleep better
Walking in the morning might help you get a better night’s sleep.
In one small study, researchers observed adults ages 55 to 65 who lived with mild insomnia or had difficulty falling asleep. The participants who worked out in the morning had better sleep quality than those who worked out in the evening.
FYI: We need more studies to show if working out in the morning is better for sleep than working out at night. But we know that aerobic exercise can stimulate the brain and keep you awake. So try not to go too hard on the treadmill 2 hours before bedtime.
You’ll have better circulation
Your heart rate goes up when you walk. This lowers blood pressure, improves heart health, and decreases stroke risk. Even 20 or 30 minutes a day can make a big difference!
Walking also helps with the promotion of new blood vessels. In some cases, this can increase muscle contraction in the legs and reduce pain.
It’s easy on the joints
Walking is a low impact activity. It helps keep your joints flexible and your bones healthy. This makes it an excellent workout for folks with arthritis or joint pain.
Another perk? You get to pick your own pace. If your joints start hurting, you can always slow down or walk on a more supportive terrain.
It strengthens muscles
You don’t have to spend hours in a gym to get gains. Walking is a great way to increase muscle definition and strength, especially in your leg muscles.
For the best results, walk briskly at an incline. You can also incorporate other strengthening exercises *during* your morning walk. For example, stop walking every 5 minutes to do some lunges, squats, or push-ups.
Remember, you don’t have to knock yourself out to see results. Just be patient and stick with it — the results will come!
It’ll bump up your energy
Starting your morning with a walk may give you more energy throughout the day.
One study of 18 sleep-deprived peeps found that 10 minutes of stair walking boosted energy more than a cup of coffee.
BTW, you might reap even *more* benefits if you take a morning walk in nature. In one older study (2010, y’all!), researchers compared the effects of walking indoors versus outdoors. At the end of the study, the participants who walked for 20 minutes outside experienced more energy and vitality than those who walked inside.
You might make healthier choices
When you work out first thing in the morning, you might feel more inspired to make healthier choices during the day. Part of this can come from the energy boost a morning walk can give. It may also be because walking can improve your mood and motivate you.
PSA: One healthy choice is to remember to drink lots of water before and after each sweat sesh. Even light morning walks can make you work up a sweat, especially if you’re strolling outside in the summer.
It can promote weight loss
Walking is a great way to burn calories. That’s a major benefit for those who want to lose weight.
The exact number of calories torched will depend on your body, but walking at a moderate pace for 30 minutes typically burns around 150 calories.
Of course, even though walking is awesome, it’s not the only path to weight loss. If your goal is to drop some lbs, you’ll get better results if you pair your morning walks with a nutrient-dense diet and other physical activities.
It’ll help you manage health conditions
Walking can be amazing for your overall health. It can even boost immunity. Morning walks may also help you prevent and manage various health concerns.
For instance, research shows that walking for 30 minutes daily can reduce your risk for heart disease by 19%. It can also help lower blood sugar levels in those who have diabetes.
Bottom line: While walking is not a cure-all, there’s a chance regular morning walks can decrease your risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
Morning walks aren’t just good for your bod—they’re also amazing for your mind.
Exercise boosts happy chemicals (aka, endorphins) in your brain. That means taking morning walks on the reg can help manage your mood.
Specifically, morning walks may help:
Additionally, morning walks can help improve mental clarity and your ability to focus. One study found that people who started their days with a morning walk had improved cognitive function compared to sedentary participants.
Research also shows that walking boosts creativity and encourages a free flow of ideas. This can help you solve problems better than if you’re sitting in place.
You don’t have to speed-walk up a mountain to reap the many benefits of walking. In fact, one of the best perks of walking is that it’s so dang customizable. Play around with terrain, elevation, and treadmill settings to find the perfect mix for your unique needs and goals.
Generally, aiming for a brisk pace will help you bump up your heart rate and maximize the perks of a morning walk. A “brisk walking pace” is considered 3 to 3.5 miles per hour (about 100 steps per minute). Of course, every body is different, and a slower pace is better than skipping the walk altogether!
Also, be sure to dress for the occasion. Obvi, you have more leeway if you’re walking indoors. But for outdoor walkers, dress warmly in the winter and wear breathable, cool clothing in the summer.
Finally, don’t forget your sunscreen, even on rainy days! Gotta keep that skin protected.
Here’s a quick recap of common morning walk questions.
What is the best time for a morning walk?
That’s totally up to you! Some folks like to wake up uber early and git-r-done. Others prefer mid-morning walks between breakfast and lunch. Again, it’s your call.
Should you eat breakfast before a morning walk?
You prob shouldn’t eat a Denny’s Grand Slam before your morning walk — though we won’t judge you if you do!
Generally, a light, high protein snack is best before a workout. This can stave off sluggishness and nausea.
How long should a morning walk be?
Again, that’s up to you. You might find it more helpful to count your steps or your times rather than your distance.
If you’re new to morning workouts, start small with 10 minutes daily. You can work your way up to 30 minutes at your own pace.
Are morning walks good for weight loss?
Morning walks are a great addition to any weight loss plan, but they’re best paired with a nutritious diet.
Walking helps burn calories without putting pressure on the joints or bones. It can also enhance muscle definition, especially in your lower body.
Morning walks are a wonderful way to boost your mental and physical health. They can help increase your mood, mental clarity, cardiovascular endurance, and overall well-being.
Just remember that you probably won’t feel a major difference after one walk. So stick with it! Aim for a 20 to 30 walk four or five times a week. If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry. You can start with shorter, less frequent walks and work your way up as you go.