When Should I Walk?
By Rachel Carver
Morning walkers know that, while it can be hard to get out of bed, the way you feel at the end energizes you for the rest of the day. Evening walkers might tell you that walking before bed is relaxing and a great way to let go of daily stress.
Research suggests the time of your daily walk impacts your body differently. Your body's circadian clock might influence these differences. A Novo Nordisk Foundation Center study done in mice found that morning exercise made cells more capable of metabolizing sugar and fat. Evening exercise increases the amount of energy your body can expend over an extended period of time.
Here is how morning and evening walks affect your body.
The Case for Morning Walking
Morning exercise prepares your muscles to efficiently burn sugar and fat throughout the day. Some 2013 research showed you can burn 20 percent more body fat by exercising in the morning, as long as you eat breakfast afterword. A morning walk may also lower blood pressure, especially in older or obese people.
Morning walks can help you start your day off on a positive note. Even if the rest of your day does not go your way, you can cross exercise off your to-do list before you get to the office. Starting off with a healthy habit will make you more likely to make healthier choices as your day progresses.
The Case for Lunchtime Walks
If you've had a stressful morning at the office, walking before you grab a bite might help you choose healthier food options. A 2016 study found that exercising after a mentally exhausting morning helped people consume less calories at lunch compared to their colleagues who did not exercise.
A short walk or some stair climbing can move your body from sedentary to active, combating the effects of too much sitting. Recent research discovered that just two minutes of regular stair climbing can improve your overall health and fitness. Exercise can also enhance your ability to make decisions compared to eating lunch at your desk.
The Case for an Evening Walk
Walking after dinner is a great way to manage digestive issues. A 2008 study found a 15-minute walk post-dinner can speed up the digestion process and may also reduce heartburn symptoms.
A study conducted in 2019 linked evening walking to a reduction of hunger feelings. This makes it easier for your body to rest and recover as you sleep.
Evening walks can naturally reduce your cortisol levels, relieving stress. Use this time to connect with your family away from screens and to plan for the next day.
Whether you prefer evening or morning walks, it is important to find a time that works for you. Consistent workouts will help you achieve your results.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Aventura, Fla.