Walking is a form of exercise this often taken for granted. It is one of the easiest ways to start to get into shape because it requires so little. We can easily see improvements in cardiovascular fitness, weight loss, and muscle tone by walking more often.
There are even health benefits to mental health care. Many workers, many of whom may live a rather sedentary lifestyle, can see the advantage of a daily walk. Just 30 minutes each morning or evening is enough to see a difference.
Why walk when you can run?
Why should we talk about the health benefits of a morning or evening walk rather than exercise more generally? We are all advised to get more exercise during the day to stay fit and healthy and be at our best.
Different people have different ideas on what this means. Some choose to cycle to work. Some swim in the evenings. Many will hit the gym for an hour to burn off as many calories as possible and tone up.
Many people will benefit from gym exercise if they have specific weight loss and fitness goals. Lots of workers make gains from 30 minutes on a home treadmill or exercise machine in the morning. There are numerous benefits here.
This guide aims to show that not only can you gain many of the same advantages from walking, but walking also has additional perks. Here are ten reasons why a morning or evening walk is so beneficial compared to gym-based exercise.
1) A Morning Walk Will Get The Body Moving Before A Long Day
Walking is exercise. It may seem like a lesser form with minimal effects at times, but it is still exercised.
A morning walk gets the body moving and the blood pumping to boost circulation, metabolism and more. It kicks starts the body’s systems and gets us ready for the day. This is the case with any physical activity in the morning. This means that a treadmill or exercise bike can work too.
However, a morning walk is a little more fun, and there is a psychological edge too. If we have a run a mile on a treadmill at 6 am in our nightwear, we are then tired, and in a position where the bed or couch is pretty appealing.
If we have walked a mile in the local park, we are up, dressed and have already met the world outside. There is a greater sense of accomplishment.
2) A Morning Walk Can Provide A Much-Needed Energy Boost
All forms of morning exercise can boost energy levels for the day ahead. You don’t need to be on a treadmill or exercise bike to achieve it.
Energy is vital for a productive work session in the morning. This is especially true if we want to get through the morning without snacking. We can keep gong until lunch with that metabolism mentioned above boost and this increase in energy. This raises an important point about breakfast.
Good health is not achieved without a good diet, and this means a strong breakfast. Many of us struggle to eat anything first thing and pay for it mid-morning. A morning walk and exercise boosts the metabolism to increase the appetite. We are more likely to eat breakfast and enjoy a healthier diet.
Again, this is true with a home gym workout regarding the physical effects. However, we can head to new locations on a walk that may offer a more nutritious breakfast treat for our efforts. Cafes and smoothie bars are a great destination. It beats the usual junk in a fridge or cupboard at home.
3) A Morning Walk Clears The Mind For A Fresh Start On The Day
One of the best things about walking is that the impact is as strong for mental health as physical. A good walk will clear the mind to a degree. Perhaps not an entirely blank slate, but a calmer surface that allows you to tackle the day ahead.
This means a new opportunity for productivity and positivity. This is where exercise as meditation comes into these walking health benefits. This is possible with gym equipment, as there are that repetitive motion and rhythm of the machines. Users can, therefore, block out negative external influences. However, a home gym is still in the home. Here you may be more inclined to laze on the sofa, stay in bed.
You may also find yourself surrounded by tasks to complete, like work folders, shopping lists, and housework. You can escape all of this on a morning walk where there is nature, sunshine, birdsong and music on a mp3 player.
4) A Morning Walk Offers A More Positive Outlook On The Day
This idea of a calmer mind for positivity is important. You have a chance to improve your mood and regain a sense of calm before rushing off to work. Are you not a morning person? You may start to remember how good the mornings can be and use that positivity to start the day.
Again, this is where morning walks are better than gym sessions in the living room. Where are you walking to? What is at the other end? There is positivity in simply getting out of the house earlier and enjoying the world at that hour.
Nature lovers can enjoy the sights and sounds of the park. Coffee lovers can walk to a coffee house before work rather than make a quick instant brew at home. They are simple moments of joy and happiness that can improve a mood during the day. You would not achieve this if you stayed at home.
Credit: Nature Walks
5) A Morning Walk Can Also Be Quite Productive
Then there is the chance of refocusing the mind for greater productivity. You don’t have to force yourself to have a clear mind on these walks.
Instead, you can allow yourself to think positively about your plan of action for the day ahead and some manageable goals. Then there is the productivity of managing other tasks during the walk. Also, you can incorporate some fun things into the walks for even greater mental health benefits. Try window shopping on a walk around a mall to get ideas for treats or present shopping.
A walk can inspire new projects so take a camera with you. There is nothing wrong with stopping to smell the roses or photograph them. Again, this memento of the morning provides a record of a positive action that can improve a mood further.
6) An Evening Walk Acts As Stress Relief To Ease The Mind Of The Day That Has Passed
Walking doesn’t have to take place in the morning. We can also achieve many health benefits from an evening walk each day. Many people find that a morning walk simply doesn’t work with their body clock.
Night owls will naturally find it difficult to get up and out early in the morning. There isn’t energy or motivation. An evening walk after work makes a lot more sense. We are not lazy with this approach if we put in the same amount of effort and miles. There are also additional benefits to walking in the evening.
Walking is a great form of stress relief. It naturally lowers blood pressure and helps with hormone levels. Walking things off does work. Therefore, this is a great tool at the end of the working day as well as the beginning. It all goes back to this idea of walking as a way of meditation.
Focus on the steps and new surroundings and forget about the problems of the day that has passed. Some can achieve this meditative state with equipment in a home gym, and it may be comforting to throw on old clothes and hit the treadmill. However, there isn’t the full sensory experience or being out in nature.
7) An Evening Walk Offers Opportunities For Socialization
This is an aspect of walking that many tend to overlook. We often view walking as a single activity, and this applies to those that want to take walking meditation seriously. However, this is a great way to meet up with friends and family and spend some time with the time.
Perhaps you failed to meet a colleague or friend at lunch because of a stressful business meeting. Make up for the time with a chat and a walk in the park, or watching the sunset by the coast.
Not only can you walk out of the problems and stress of the day, but you can also talk about what happened. It is a great way to catch up on the day’s news and gossip while also keeping fit.
Alternatively, you can go with your dog. A dog always wants a good walk in the evening with its master. You can both get some regular exercise and playtime to put the day into perspective. They will listen to your problems without talking back and are likely to go that extra mile more than some relatives. This is another reason why it is better to walk than use gym equipment. It is much easier to talk and socialize on a walk, and your four-legged friend can’t come to the gym.
8) An Evening Walk Is Great For A Good Night’s Sleep
A good night’s sleep is hard to come by these days. This is especially true if we are dealing with workplace stress or other issues. Exercise can help to kick start the metabolism in such a way that it aids sleep patterns.
Many experts advise exercising a few hours before sleep for the best results. Therefore, anyone that is struggling with their sleeping patterns really can benefit from an evening walk.
A walk doesn’t have to be for miles, and you don’t have to exhaust yourself. Just expend enough energy that you can feel it where it counts and are tired enough to sleep at the right time. A routine with evening walks around the same time can improve a sleep pattern. It is all about getting into a rhythm.
Before long, you could find that you have more energy in the mornings for a more productive, stress-free morning at work. The other great thing about exercising in the evening is that muscles can recover and grow overnight.
9)You Can Enjoy Walking For Weight Loss At Any Time Of Day
Walking is one of the best ways to lose weight. This is particularly the case for anyone that struggles to live an active lifestyle. Many people struggle to manage weight loss because they don’t balance daily exercise and a good diet.
Walking can help to fix both issues here. The energy and metabolism boost saw improvements in appetite. You won’t eat more this way, but you will be more inclined to eat a better diet with a strong breakfast.
When you add in the daily physical effort of the walk, this can tip the scales towards weight loss, rather than weight gain. The best thing about this approach is that it is low effort and low impact. The inches and pounds lost are gradual, but those that stick with the routine will benefit from it.
10) Whenever You Walk, There Is No Doubt That It Will Be Good For Your Health
We have been comparing walking to gym-based exercise as a better mental and physical health option. There are pros and cons to this approach. One clear advantage of walking is that anyone can do it and see results.
Gym equipment can be pretty intimidating for newcomers. Some machines may be too intense if you have no experience and need a low-impact approach. Walking requires minimal effort and no special equipment, and it is achievable whenever it suits you.
It is up to you whether you choose a morning or evening walk. You may enjoy the health benefits so much that you do both.
Either way, you can be sure of improving your metabolism, sleep patterns, weight, state of mind, and productivity. This is true no matter where you go or who you go with.