What do the morning routines of Bill Gates, Narendra Modi, Mark Zuckerberg and Howard Schultz have in common? Do they get started with their day’s schedule right away? No. Instead, they take some time out in the morning to exercise, to rejuvenate their mind and body. This shows in their high productivity, ability to take quick decisions and stay fresh throughout the day. In fact, Zuck had a resolution this year to cover 365 miles in morning walks and runs (1 mile a day), and the idea quickly caught up among a lot of people. Treading some distance early in the morning is definitely a great way to start your day.
If you are not convinced, I’ll give you some great reasons and benefits for you to wake up early and start walking.
Cut Some Calories
In a pure objective viewpoint, walking burns calories. A 70 kg person walking at 3 mph, engages 300 calories per hour. Though running burns more calories than walking, it has some downsides, like stress on the body and injury risk, which makes it not feasible for the elderly crowd. Therefore, walking is a positive go-to morning exercise – simple and effective.
For Stronger Bones/Back
Walking is a gentle activity, unlike running and cycling that put a lot of strain on you bones and joints. Morning walking at a brisk pace is sufficient to properly exercise your joints and strengthen your back while at the same time reduce the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis.
Beat the Stress
Walking early in the morning reduces the risk of high cholesterol and helps fight hypertension by keeping your cardiovascular system sound and healthy. When you go outdoors and breathe in the fresh air, your body releases ‘endorphins’ which fights stress hormones and alleviate depression. You’ll also see a spike in your energy levels if you walk regularly in the morning.
Regulates Sugar Levels
Morning walk is a must if you are diabetic. When you walk regularly for more than a month, your blood sugar levels gets regulated and becomes more uniform. Walking lowers the glucose levels and helps the body to utilise the insulin. You may also be free from some of your diet restrictions then.
Get the Benefits of Meditation
Studies have shown that walking at least 5 times a week in green spaces and natural surroundings calms your mind and gives it room for thinking. In another word, it mimics meditation and puts your mind in a peaceful state. You could plan your day more effectively or think creatively about the problem nagging you whole week.
If you want to wake up early, you sleep early. And when you start the day soon, you also say good night soon. Half the health problems we face are due to lack of sound sleep and thanks to the morning walk, you won’t have them anymore. This particularly applies to the student and young working community.
For Expecting Mothers
Early morning walk prevent pregnant women from having gestational diabetes and help keep their hormone levels moderate. It is a good exercise and should be done 10-20 minutes every day for 5 days a week. This duration can be lowered as the pregnancy progresses but it is highly recommended that they walk daily till the 9th month.
Opportunity to Socialise
You can now get to know your neighbors better and have regular walking sessions together. It is a great way to ensure you don’t skip your walks and stick to the plan. You can even make use of Fitso’s app and create your own group and invite your gang for early morning walks.
Where do I walk?
Morning walk are great in spacious outdoors with greenery and fresh air. Else, your backyard or the terrace would also do. Outdoors, you’ll feel stimulated and revitalised by the external world and the benefits of walking are maximum. No two days the weather is same and you’ll have the enjoyment and satisfaction of a good workout.
But having said that, make sure you walk on a plain path and avoid uneven terrain. Have a good pair of shoes and wear comfortable clothes.
If you have access to a treadmill in your place and don’t have the time or space for walking, we’ll it is still good. You can walk indoors. Though it will never completely compensate the benefits of an outdoor walk, you can still burn equivalent calories or even more.
You can up the intensity by wearing a weighted vest while running on the treadmill or even raise the incline of the machine. But keep in mind not to hold on to the handrail while running as it impairs posture and burns few calories, as there is no movement of the arms.
Should I eat before a walk?
Yes. It is not good to walk with an empty stomach or a full stomach. Going out on an empty stomach may cause dizziness or might get tired easily. Half empty stomach is the goal here.
Have foods that have a lot of calories and less fat so that you don’t take the chance of weight gain. Fruits juices, bananas, low-fat yogurt, some light snacks or a mini breakfast will do.
Studies have shown that coffee on an empty stomach causes digestive problems. So, if you have the habit of having tea or coffee early in the morning then take it with some solid food.
Walking may not seem to require any special accessories, but you should have some minimum things while you are out.
- Shoes: Wear shoes that are highly comfortable with some space between your toes and the end of the shoes. Fasten the lace so that the shoe fits your foot properly and firmly.
- Comfortable clothes: Little loose T-Shirts paired with shorts are perfect. It is recommended to have light weight, non-cotton clothes as the cotton ones would turn damp with sweat.
- Hydration: A water bottle to keep you hydrated whenever necessary.
- Gadgets: A sweat band and a phone with a good set of earphones that come with a clip. This will ensure your earphone don’t go haywire in the breeze or interfere with your walk.