Create some extra time in your day, take in a beautiful sunrise and increase your step count with a morning walk! Starting your day off active can improve your mood, give you a positive outlook and leave you energized and ready for the day ahead. If you’re having trouble getting more steps into your busy schedule, a morning walk may be just what you need.
Even if you don’t think of yourself as a morning person, with a bit of planning you can get up and get in some extra steps to start the day. Whether it’s a quick 5-minute stroll or a brisk, 30-minute walking workout, you’ll feel great and get a head start on your step goal!
Prepare ahead of time!
Preparing for your morning walk ahead of time is extremely important, yet easier than you think. Taking the “leg-work” out of your morning walk and removing potential obstacles to getting up and walking makes it that much easier to start you on your new healthy path.
You’ll be more motivated to get up and get moving if you can just wake up and go. Eliminating potential excuses increases the chances you’ll follow through with your walk. If you’re not a morning person, you might be groggy or inefficient when you just wake up. Doing the prep work the night before when you’re awake and motivated saves you time the next day that you could be walking.
Prep your clothes
Lay out your walking clothes and shoes the night before. This way, even if you wake up a bit groggy, you won’t have to think about what to wear and track down all of your gear. Eliminating potential excuses or things to think about makes it more likely you’ll get up and walk and less likely you’ll hit the snooze button.
Laying your clothes out also visually motivates you to get ready in the morning. If possible, lay out your clothes in another room or at least away from the bed. This helps you get moving, which in turn helps wake you up. Try leaving your phone (with your alarm) on the way to your clothes so that you start going to to your gear by necessity.
Set out a snack
Plan out your light and healthy morning meal before going to bed. Do any prep work ahead of time, or choose an easy-to-grab snack like a banana or granola bar. You will probably want to avoid eating a large breakfast before your walk. Consider a quick snack out where it’s easy to grab and then have the remainder of a light breakfast after your walk.
Having a healthy breakfast ready to go allows you to eat and get going, and removes the obstacle of having to decide on your breakfast and make it when you’ve just woken up. If you prefer to eat after walking (like many people), you’re still better off doing prep work to make your morning more efficient. This gives you more time to walk during a busy morning.
Go to bed early
Get to bed early the night before and set your alarm. Getting plenty of sleep can make or break your morning walk. You’ll feel more energized and focused, and it’s just easier to get up when you’ve had more sleep. Morning walking can actually improve your sleep habits as well, so if you’re new to morning walking give yourself a few days to adjust to sleeping earlier.
If you’re a night owl or having trouble going to sleep early, set an alarm at night as well to remind you to get ready for bed. Leave your phone away from your bed to resist temptations. You can start setting your “go to bed” alarm one minute earlier every day (or even every week). You won’t feel the difference, but before you know it you’ll be asleep 30 minutes early and ready for 30 minutes of morning walking!
Plan out your walking route
Knowing where you are going gives you peace of mind so you can concentrate on enjoying the fresh air and heart-healthy benefits you will be receiving. If your goal is a 15-minute morning walk, create a few routes that you can easily finish in that time so that you won’t have to worry about which way to go while you’re walking.
You can also visualize what you’ll see along the way. Thinking about where you’ll walk the night before can motivate you to start your walk the next day. You’ll also pick a more interesting route and remember things to see and do along the way. If you’re not sure where to walk, create your own Route using Pacer’s Routes function or find a new one.
Why walk in the morning?
Improve your mood
Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins in the body that makes you feel good. You don’t need to run a marathon to help free them. Walking will do just fine! Seeing some beautiful sights, like the sunrise and the dew on fresh leaves will make you feel even better.
Get more energy to start your day
Walking can help improve circulation and the brisk morning air can wake you up and feel great! Walking can actually leave you feeling more energetic, especially as you get more experienced. You’ll also have a sense of accomplishment knowing you got up and got a great walk, which you can carry through your day.
Walking relaxes your mind as you exercise your body. Getting more active during the day (and in the morning) can help you sleep better at night. This also helps you get up earlier for your walk, reinforcing your motivation!
Improves your memory
Recent research has shown in as little as 20-30 minutes of walking, you may slow cognitive decline as well as reduce the risk of dementia. It can help you focus on tasks and solve problems, which could be just what you need when you get to work!
Ensure you get your 30 minutes
Health organizations like the WHO, CDC, and NHS recommend at least 30 minutes of walking per day, 5 days a week. If you can work in 15 minutes of walking in the morning, you’re halfway to your minimum requirement and well on your way to an even higher step goal.
Life can often get in the way of any fitness routine, but not if you get your 30 minutes (or at least a head start on it) at the very start of your day! Studies have shown that small amounts of walking can give unexpected benefits, and even light exercise can reduce your risk of death. This means that even a leisurely morning stroll can have some powerful health-boosting effects.
Jumpstart your weight loss journey
Getting more steps means burning more calories, which can help lose weight. By choosing healthy, light breakfast options that you can grab and go can also help you avoid unnecessary breakfast calories as well! Creating a morning walking habit makes walking part of your routine, which puts you in a healthier mindset for the day ahead.
The great thing about walking is that you can do it anywhere and anytime you choose. There’s no membership required, and it’s free. Starting your day off with a brisk walk makes you feel great, helps you get steps and puts you in a position for a great day ahead. See a beautiful sunrise, watch as your town or city wakes up, and rejuvenate your spirit. Your mind and body will thank you!
If you haven’t downloaded the Pacer app yet, download Pacer for free (on mobile)! You can also check out our website (mobile or desktop) or follow our blog for more great walking and healthy lifestyle tips.