Taking a morning walk has numerous health benefits; see which ones – 10/28/2021

There are some priorities that we are only realizing over time. With this pandemic (and living in São Paulo), I realized how important it is to get out of the house a little bit. It is a delight for our body to live saving energy all the time. Staying at home, taking a few steps, sitting down, observing the same environment every day and all the time.

Time goes by and we end up not even realizing how important it is to get out, socialize, observe new environments, breathe. And it’s no use exploring this topic with people who aren’t prepared for this conversation, because you’re going to “knife the point”—example: telling a teenager who is locked in his room to “take a walk on the street ” and he doesn’t even care.

Anyway, some themes seem silly, but with age —I believe that many who have been following my column since I started are also changing the way we see the world and think— we notice how essential some actions, some routines are, so that, in the end After all, everything goes as planned, lightly and each day generating more well-being —which in the end is what we live in the eternal search (even if we don’t know)!

When we wake up in the morning, movement may not be your priority. Therefore, it is essential to wake up your body and not get up in a hurry. Now with home office, hybrid jobs (sometimes at home, sometimes at the office) it’s “easier” to organize your routine — of course you should be in control of it and not just let life take you.

I’m not saying here that it’s necessary to wake up at 5 am, but rather schedule yourself to sleep and wake up whenever possible at the same time and also create a routine that you can wake up calmly.

Therefore, these tips are essential:

  1. Get regular sleep. A study of Harvard showed that it is necessary to adjust their biological schedule, that is, to have a regular sleep schedule, trying, as much as possible, to sleep and always wake up at the same time.
  2. Stretch when you wake up. When we don’t wake up in a hurry, we manage to get that big sprawling in bed and perform a calmer stretching routine plus a dash of mindfulness.
  3. Always organize your breakfast the day before. Stop opening the fridge and thinking “what do I eat?”. Instead, organize a food routine of what to eat and what time.

That said, if you still have a little time, how about reaping the benefits of a walk when you wake up? It doesn’t take a lot of time. About 30 minutes of walking will offer you many health benefits and here we are focusing on your quality of life, mental health and general well-being.

  • Increases your energy. Starting the day with a walk, especially outdoors, can give you more energy throughout the day. Studies show that adults who walked 20 minutes outdoors experienced more vitality and energy than those who walked 20 minutes indoors.
  • Improves your mood. There are also physiological benefits to walking in the morning. A walk can help improve self-esteem, improve mood, reduce stress, reduce anxiety, reduce fatigue, relieve symptoms of depression, or reduce the risk of depression. For best results, try walking for 20 to 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.
  • A good physical activity to start your day. At Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that healthy adults complete at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Try taking a 30-minute walk, 5 mornings a week, to meet these requirements. Observation: remember that we are talking about quality of life and, if your goal is weight loss, strengthening, always include more intense training and resistance exercises.
  • Helps in the prevention of some pathologies. Walking can offer numerous health benefits, including improving your immunity, as well as preventing and helping to control various health problems. Studies show that walking 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart disease by 19% and help lower your blood sugar levels. It also increases your life expectancy and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
  • Improves your mental clarity. I’ve already written here about mindfull walking (I love it!) and stress that a morning walk can help improve your mental clarity and ability to focus throughout the day. One study found that among older adults, those who started their days with a morning walk improved their cognitive function, compared to those who remained sedentary. Walking can also help you think more creatively. Research has shown that walking opens up a free flow of ideas, which can help you solve problems better than if you are sitting or sedentary. This is especially the case if you walk outdoors.
  • Improved sleep quality. Walking early in your day can help you sleep better at night. One study looked at older adults aged 55 to 65 who had difficulty falling asleep at night or lived with mild insomnia. Those who exercised in the morning versus at night had better sleep quality at night. More research is needed to determine why exercise in the morning may be better for sleep than exercise at night.
  • Assists in healthier choices. Walking can help you make healthier choices. When your energy drops or you are tired, you are more likely to seek comforting snacks. Walking in the morning can inspire you to choose a healthier menu.

Tips for your morning walk

So as not to mess up, how about programming? Here are some important tips.

  1. Prepare clothes for your walk the night before.
  2. Set your alarm 30 minutes early so you can take a walk for at least 20 minutes in the morning.
  3. Look for a quiet route, close to where you live, or right on your street.
  4. Make arrangements with a friend or colleague who wants to go with you.
  5. If you don’t have a lot of time in the morning, consider making the walk part of your journey. If you can’t walk to work, try getting off the bus one or two stops early for a walk, or park further away from the office for a walk.
  6. You can walk before or after your breakfast, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable.

References:

Mayo Clinic. Can I lose weight if my only exercise is walking? Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/walking/faq-20058345

Heart Attack and Stroke Symptoms. Fit in Walking Morning, Noon or Night. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/walking/fit-in-walking-morning-noon-or-night

Des of Moor. Walking for health. Available from: https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/Walking%20works_LONG_AW_Web.pdf

Phillips, AJK, Clerx, WM, O’Brien, CS et al. Irregular sleep/wake patterns are associated with poorer academic performance and delayed circadian and sleep/wake timing. Sci Rep 7, 3216 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-03171-4

Zheng H, Orsini N, Amin J, Wolk A, Nguyen VT, Ehrlich F. Eur J Epidemiol. 2009;24(4):181-92. doi: 10.1007/s10654-009-9328-9. Epub 2009 Mar 22. PMID: 19306107.

Wheeler MJ, Green DJ, Ellis KA, et al. Distinct effects of exercise and breaks in sitting on working memory and executive function in older adults: a three-arm, randomized cross-over trial to evaluate the effects of exercise with and without breaks in sitting on cognition. Br J Sports Med. 2020 Jul;54(13):776-781. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-100168. Epub 2019 Apr 29. PMID: 31036563.

Vieira, A., Costa, R., Macedo, R., Coconcelli, L., & Kruel, L. (2016). Effects of aerobic exercise performed in fasted v. fed state on fat and carbohydrate metabolism in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Nutrition, 116(7), 1153-1164. doi: 10.1017/S0007114516003160

Morita Y, Sasai-Sakuma T, Inoue Y. Effects of acute morning and evening exercise on subjective and objective sleep quality in older individuals with insomnia. Sleep Medicine. Volume 34. Pages 200-208. 2017.

Randolph D, O’Connor P. Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep deprived young women. Physiology & Behavior. Volume 174. Pages 128-135. 2017.

Ryan R, Weinstein N, Bernstein J et al. Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature. Journal of Environmental Psychology 30 (2010) 159-168.

Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, DL Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(4), 1142-1152. 2014.

About Jenni Smith

She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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