Walking is one of the easiest and, at the same time, rewarding forms of exercise. This type of workout comes with tons of health benefits not only for the body, but the mind as well. Besides being truly beneficial to our overall health, it’s also an easy-to-do activity. It doesn’t require any special skills or equipment and can be done anywhere and anytime.
Speaking of time, is there actually an ideal moment to go for a walk during the day? Well, there is no simple answer. The best time for walking may depend on each individual’s availability, different necessities and preferences. Some prefer to exercise early in the morning, others choose to do it later in the evening after finishing work.
In this article we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of exercising in the morning and in the evening.
Walking in the Morning
If you’re the type of person that usually gets up pretty early, you can easily fit a morning workout into your schedule. Here’s why you should do it:
- Going for a 45-minute brisk walk in the morning can help you reduce your appetite during the day and hence prevent you from adding those unwanted extra pounds.
- Studies have shown that working out at 7 A.M. can help you alter your body clock for the better. You’ll be more vigorous in the morning and fall asleep earlier in the evening, making sure you get the right amount of rest each night.
- According to an article published in the American Psychological Association, exercising in the morning can foster the development and maintenance of healthy habits.
- A morning walk can help you reduce stress, clear you mind of negative thoughts and improve productivity throughout the day
- There’s a lower level of air pollution early in the morning, in comparison to other times of the day.
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits of walking in the morning. Of course, there are cons as well. Let’s take a look:
- If your goal is to lose weight, you may want to opt for a late afternoon or evening workout. A study published in the Current Biology found that people burn more calories in the second part of the day in comparison to early morning.
- Your body temperature is lower in the morning, which means you’ll feel less energetic than in other times of the day.
- Your body can feel rather rigid first thing in the morning. Your muscles are colder and stiffer, and that’s why it’s necessary to warm up and do some stretching. This way you’ll properly prepare your body for a brisk walk or jog and avoid injuries.
Walking in the Evening
If you’re not an early riser or you’re pretty busy during the first part of the day, an evening exercise may suit you just fine. Here are the benefits of walking in the evening:
- You burn more calories than in the morning, which can aid you with your weight loss goals.
- According to research, exercising in the evening can be an effective way to control your blood sugar level.
- Studies have shown that a post-dinner walk can help you digest your food in a more efficient manner.
- Going for an evening walk is a great way to let go of all your worries and relax after a long day. During a 30-minute walk you get to clear you mind and can also spend some quality time with your family.
- Contrary to popular belief, exercising later in the day does not disrupt your sleep. Going for a later walk will help you relieve tension and rest better at night. Just make sure you don’t get into bed immediately after your workout, so you can allow your body to wind down.
- Your muscles are considerably warmer and more flexible, which means there’s a lower risk of injury.
Exercising in the evening does come with a multitude of benefits. Naturally, there are disadvantages as well:
- Safety concerns. Walking alone in the dark is not as safe as doing it in the early hours of the morning.
- The air pollution is usually at its highest peak at this time of day. Therefore inhaling various toxic pollutants during your workout may have a negative effect especially on your cardiovascular health.
- Fatigue factor. After working hard the entire day, going for a walk may not be your top priority. There can be evenings when you’ll struggle to find the motivation to walk for 30 minutes.
Always Track your Progress
No matter if you decide to walk in the morning or in the evening, it’s a great idea to track your physical activity. This way you’ll have a clear picture of how much you’re actually moving instead of overestimating or underestimating your performance. Not only that, but tracking your activity will give you the chance to create a clear fitness goal for yourself, to monitor your progress and find the motivation to reach and even surpass your target.
In order to track your walks you don’t really need to purchase an additional fitness tracker. All you really need is your phone. Just download a pedometer app like our own ActivityTracker and you’re all good to go. The app will automatically record your physical activity during the day and show you all the fitness metrics that matter: the steps taken, the amount of calories burned, the distance walked or the total time spent active. You’ll be able to set your own goals and always be up-to-date with your activity, including on an hourly basis.
The Bottom Line
Which exactly is the right time to exercise? Well, the one that can best integrate with your schedule, needs and lifestyle. If you like to get up early in the morning and have the necessary time, don’t hesitate to go for a 30-minute stroll. On the other hand, if you’re a night owl, go for a walk later in the evening.
The most important thing is to fit those 30 minutes of exercise into your daily schedule, regardless of the part of the day. Creating such a beneficial habit and sticking to it will only lead to a better health and a better quality of life.