WHEN TO WALK Jessica Migala seeks to remind exercisers who plan to walk to achieve specific fitness goals that there may be optimal times to do so. In her article for Under Armor‘s blog, MyFitnessPal.com, Migala discusses the health benefits to be gained from walking, which include lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, losing weight, relieving stress, improving sleep, and boosting mood.
According to scientific studies referenced by Migala, morning routines are best for sleep and weight loss, evening times are most ideal for decreasing blood pressure, after meal strolls will help get blood sugar levels under control, commuting walks will help bust stress, and lunch breaks can “boost happiness.”
However, knowing that your walking sessions are not scheduled during time periods when science suggests they could deliver the greatest benefits is NOT a reason to become discouraged or distressed. The 6 health issues that walking is reported to improve addressed in Migala’s piece, are likely to be linked for many of us.
In the long term, weight gain leading to obesity threatens the development of hypertension and glucose intolerance, and ultimately, other dangerous diseases. Poor quality and inadequate sleep can contribute to obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, as can stress.
Perhaps the specific time that walking exercise is performed it is less important than simply getting it done regularly. Doing so at a fast pace also seems to be critical to lifelong good health.
There is evidence that brisk walkers with a bodyweight within in a healthy or even overweight range may enjoy longer lives. A Luminate article posted by Medium.com quotes the lead researcher of a recently published observational United Kingdom study about brisk walking as saying, “Fast walkers have a long life expectancy across all categories of obesity status, regardless of how obesity is measured”. Great news!
Walking in the early morning at sunrise on a clear beautiful day is a definite mood booster. Getting it done in the wet and gloom of a sloppy weather day isn’t so much fun. However, consistently completing an exercise session before each day’s work begins takes this item off the “to-do” list and puts it into the “accomplished” column, which contributes to a positive mental and emotional state.
The same sense of accomplishment can be experienced with a consistent evening, lunch, or afternoon break session. The Earned Runs perspective is that making and fulfilling a regular commitment to walk at moderate to high intensity for fitness may bestow multiple inter-related physical, emotional, and mental health rewards, regardless of the time of day it is performed.
Summertime days present two “golden” opportunities in which to establish a brisk walking habit and, at the same time, enjoy peak times of outdoor beauty. In their work, photographers utilize the golden hours of the day, the time periods just after sunrise and before the sunset, to create gorgeous images. In Northern Hemisphere summers these hours occur at times when many are not commuting to or at work, making it a perfect season* to get hooked on a daily exercise walk routine.
This summer enjoy the outdoors and boost your health, mood, and longevity with a fast walk any time of the day.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*Check out the six Earned Runs 2019 SUMMER CHALLENGES on the RESOURCES page if you’re at a loss for how to start a brisk walking routine.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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