10 Healthy Morning Walk Benefits To Start Your Day Off Right

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The benefits of walking cannot be understated. There is an abundance of scientific evidence demonstrating the numerous physical and mental health benefits of walking regularly.

But, are there specific benefits of walking in the morning? Does walking first thing in the morning improve your health even more than walking later in the day? Are there weight loss benefits of a morning walk? And what are the best tips for walking in the morning?

In this article, we will discuss the various morning walk benefits and provide you with tips for walking first thing in the morning to help you get started on your own journey as an early morning walker.

Let’s get started!

A person smiling while getting ready to walk in the morning.

Here Are 10 Healthy Morning Walk Benefits

Here are some of the top morning walk benefits:

#1: Walking In The Morning Increases Your Energy

If you aren’t used to walking first thing in the morning, the idea of a morning walk may make you want to pull the covers even more tightly under your chin in anticipation of what you imagine to be an exhausting activity.

However, studies have found that walking can be energizing, particularly if you walk outdoors.

There is even some evidence to suggest that walking can potentially be more energizing than the jolt you get from caffeine in a cup of coffee.

For example, one small study found that in sleep-deprived women, just 10 minutes of stair walking raised subjective readings of energy and alertness more than a cup of coffee.

A person walking down the road in the morning, surrounded by pink flowers.

#2: Walking In The Morning Can Boost Your Mood

Even if you aren’t suffering from depression, everyone can benefit from a natural means of boosting your mood.

Starting your day by walking first thing in the morning can help elevate your mood, boost your confidence, reduce stress and anxiety, and get you started on the path to a positive-mindset day.

And, if you have been feeling down, incorporating regular physical activity into your lifestyle, such as taking a morning walk every day, is one of the best ways to help improve your emotional well-being and self-esteem.

#3: Walking In The Morning Can Help Control Your Appetite

If you are walking to lose weight, another one of our morning walk benefits is that it may help control your appetite.

Research has found that exercising in the morning may help decrease appetite for the rest of the day.

This is because the number of calories you eat has a significant impact on your weight loss results, and appetite suppression being a morning walk benefit, may help support caloric intake and weight loss from walking. 

Another study also found that men who exercised on an empty stomach before breakfast ate fewer calories throughout the rest of the day.

Two people walking in the first morning rays of light.

#4: Walking In The Morning May Help You Burn More Fat

Walking generally tends to be a great exercise for burning fat because it is relatively low intensity.

While carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source for muscles during high-intensity exercise, walking is generally slow enough (lower intensity) so that a higher percentage of the calories can come from fat.

It takes longer to oxidize fat for energy (ATP) than glycogen (stored carbs), which is why fat burning decreases with vigorous exercise in favor of burning glycogen.

Fat burning during walking is further enhanced by walking in the morning on an empty stomach (after the overnight fast).

Studies have found that doing fasted cardio, such as walking first thing in the morning, increases the relative percentage of fat oxidation.

This is because glycogen stores are limited, and liver glycogen—and some muscle glycogen—gets used up overnight.

Four people walking on a trail.

As a result, your body preferentially burns even more fat for fuel to spare the remaining glycogen, if possible.

Indeed, some studies show you may burn up to 20% more fat when exercising on an empty stomach, and one small study found that exercising first thing in the morning on an empty stomach actually increased overall fat oxidation over the next 24 hours. 

Not a bad reason to get out and walk before eating breakfast!

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily burn more calories walking before breakfast, but you will burn a higher percentage of calories from fat.

#5: Walking In The Morning Helps You Beat the Heat

From a practical perspective, another one of our morning walk benefits is that you can avoid the heat of the day during the summer or hot months, particularly if you live in a warm climate.

#6: Walking In The Morning Can Improve Your Sleep

Even though you might have to get up early if you want to do a long walk before breakfast, changing the time of your alarm to get in a morning walk may not sabotage your sleep as much as you might think.

A study found that exercising in the morning improved the quality of sleep more significantly than exercising in the afternoon or evening.

A group of people walking in a park.

#7: Walking In the Morning May Reduce Blood Pressure

Another morning walk benefit is that exercising in the morning has been shown to be an even more effective way to manage hypertension (high blood pressure) than exercising later in the day.

Since nearly half of all American adults have hypertension (and many adults in other countries as well), this is certainly a good reason to go for a walk first thing in the morning.

#8: Walking In The Morning Sets Your Day In Motion

One of the benefits of walking in the morning is that it helps start your day off on the right foot.

Almost everyone wants to be physically active and meet the guidelines for physical activity for adults, but there are lots of responsibilities that compete with our time, attention, and energy to work out regularly.

A benefit of walking in the morning is that even if you struggle to get everything else on your “to-do list“ done for the day, you will already have one successful checkmark that you can make on that list—exercising for the day and getting in your daily step count.

Two people walking along the coast.

This will help you feel a sense of accomplishment after you finish your morning walk, which, in turn, can boost your mindset and confidence and set the tone for a productive, upbeat, and successful day ahead.

To this end, another benefit of walking in the morning is that you have already invested the time and energy into making smart healthy choices, so you may capitalize on that positive inertia and continue to make other healthy choices throughout the rest of the day. 

Indeed, there’s evidence to suggest that people who exercise in the morning tend to exert more energy throughout the day.

Consider the difference in your attitude and mindset towards your health and weight loss goals if you take a morning walk before breakfast vs eat a couple of donuts and don’t exercise.

In the first scenario, you will likely find that one of the benefits of walking in the morning is that you feel compelled to “keep your streak“ for the rest of the day by choosing nutritious foods and being active because you have already worked hard towards your fitness goals. 

In contrast, after indulging in foods that might not be compatible with your diet goals, you may feel tempted to throw in the towel for the rest of the day and continue to make poor choices if you feel like you have already “blown the day” healthwise.

People walking in a park in the morning.

#9: Walking In The Morning May Improve Your Focus

In addition to the benefits of walking in the morning that subjectively help you feel like you can conquer your day and be more productive because you did a workout, there is some objective truth to these emotional morning walking benefits. 

There is research to suggest that in the two hours following exercise, executive functions, including memory, problem-solving, decision-making, cognitive flexibility, verbal fluency, and inhibitory control, are enhanced.

Plus, evidence suggests that working out in the morning can help improve attention, working memory, and executive function throughout the rest of the day. 

#10: Walking In The Morning Promotes Consistency

As mentioned, one of the top benefits of walking in the morning is that it can improve consistency and adherence to your workout regimen.

Research looking at factors that improve exercise adherence and weight loss results from exercise in individuals who are overweight or obese found that a consistent morning exercise routine was the best way to support exercise adherence and weight loss.

Walking first thing in the morning is a great way to make sure you actually get your workout in without the responsibilities of the day cropping up and derailing your fitness plans.

Ready to walk? Check out our walking guides here.

Two people walking and laughing in a park.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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