Hey Angels and Alphas,
If you’ve ever gotten up early in the morning to take a walk, you know that even though getting out of bed isn’t the easiest task, the energizing feeling you get from a long morning walk (and the weight loss that comes with it) are hard to beat.
But did you know that the same walk, depending on the time of day you do it, can either feel relaxing or energizing – one can help bring you up and let you start the day, another can settle your nerves and calm you down after a long day.
Here’s something you should know: morning walks feel different from evening walks, and both of those differ from the effect you get walking during the middle of the day. The effects on the body change based on the time of day you take your walk.
There appears to be a big difference between the effect of exercise when it’s performed in the morning as compared to the evening. These differences are controlled by the body’s natural circadian clock.
Morning exercise basically initiates various gene programs inside the muscle cells, making them even more productive and better capable of metabolizing fats and sugars. Exercising in the evening, on the other hand, will increase your full-body energy expenditure for a long period of time.
Here’s how running in the morning, running in the midday, and running in the evening, each have different effects:
Morning exercise basically primes your muscles to burn and metabolize sugar and fat effectively throughout the day. This has been studied and researched – one study done in 2013 showed that people burn up to 20 percent more body fat if they exercise in the morning before consuming food. In addition, this may also help lower your blood pressure – especially if you’re older or overweight.
Morning walks are great from a behavioral standpoint because regardless of how the rest of the day shakes up, you’ve at least checked your exercise off the list. Starting the day off with healthy exercise helps keep healthy habits in check throughout the rest of the day.
If you’ve had a tough morning at your office or at work, a pre-lunch walk could help you prevent overeating and choosing a meal that’s less healthy. This was found in a 2016 study that researched the role of exercise after “mental work”, such as working on a report or attending corporate meetings.
It found that people eat fewer calories at lunch if they have a walk before lunch. This is because glucose and lactate that was produced through exercise provided more energy to the brain just like eating a snack would.
And it doesn’t really take much – short walks or even brisk walking for a few flights of stairs can completely change your body and turn it from sedentary to active, helping undo the damages done by prolonged periods of sitting down.
Running or walking after dinner is usually a great idea (if you do it at least an hour after your meal.) Studies done back in 2018 found out that just 15 minutes of walking after a meal could be enough to aid digestion and speed up the digestive process. It also helps reduce symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.
If you walk after dinner, you’re also less likely to consume dessert because you give your body enough time to realize it’s actually satisfied. Studies done in 2019 have discovered that exercising in the evening can lead to a reduction in feelings of hunger, helping prepare your body for rest and recovery.
The bottom line is…
Morning walks energize us. Midday walks help us gain mental clarity and have even been shown to boost creativity. Evening walks do the opposite to morning walks, lowering our cortisol levels and relaxing us so we get ready for overnight rest.
Whichever one of these you choose to do, just make sure you keep it up. It’s great to both start and end your day on a healthy note, so whichever one you choose to do, you should know you’re reaping a plethora of health and fitness benefits that you should really be proud of.