5 reasons this morning's walk is the best thing i'll do today


When I was single I was an every day exerciser. Running, walking, dancing, the gym and yoga were regular appointments in my diary. But you know how it is, you embark on a new relationship and suddenly nothing else matters.

Morning walks were replaced with going out for a quick breakfast before heading to the office and drinks and dinner took the place of those after-work gym sessions. Weekend yoga classes fell off my radar because I knew my new boyfriend's time in the same city as me was limited to a three-month work stint so we had to make the most of the time we had together.

I did go out for a morning walk on the odd occasion but as summer turned to autumn and, inevitably, winter, getting out of my warm bed to pound the pavement just wasn't as attractive an option as staying cosy under the covers.

But this week I've been dog-sitting the adorable Coco while my parents are off living it up on a four week trip to the UK so I've been forced off the couch and those morning walks are suddenly back on the agenda - and I have to say I feel so much better because of it.

It's not just the exercise either, going for a 30-40 minute walk allows me to clear my head before the day begins and gives me the opportunity to see with fresh eyes things that I may have been thinking about the night before when it comes to my impending move. Things always seem much more achievable in the morning!

Coco and I out for a walk around Lavender Bay on the weekend
But don't just take my word for it. Both physical and mental health experts say the morning is the best time to get active - a recent study suggests that you can burn up to 20 percent more body fat by exercising in the morning before your first meal while mental health experts agree that even if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, a morning workout will boost your endorphins for extra smiles the rest of the day.

Here's five other reasons why this morning's walk (and tomorrow's and the next day's) will be the best thing I do for myself all day.

1. It's a brain boost

Exercise has been proven to increase mental focus for up to ten whole hours post-workout. If you’re squeezing in your exercise after work, you’re not taking full advantage of those ten hours but getting your sweat on in the morning means that both your brain and your body are in good shape all day.

2. You'll get a more consistent workout

Exercise can be hard to squeeze into our daily schedules and it's often the first casualty when things get busy (my experience is a case in point). By getting your workout in before the day begins, it's out of the way and you'll actually have a sense of achievement before your work day even starts. 

3. It will put you in a good mood, reduce stress and boost energy

 "With enough sleep you will have more energy at the beginning of the day than the end to put into your workout," certified fitness trainer Stacy Berman told Cosmopolitan. A morning walk is also a great way to beat stress. Like any other cardiovascular exercise, brisk walking boosts endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones and alleviate mild depression.

4. It can improve heart health

Walking is the easiest physical exercise you can do and studies show that walking daily for 30-45 minutes can help in preventing heart disease. It can also lower cholesterol levels which ultimately help in decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Why the morning? One of the ways that your body naturally wakes you up is by increasing levels of hormones like adrenaline, which causes your heart to beat faster squeezing out some extra cardiovascular benefits when you workout first thing.

5. It's better for weight loss

There is conflicting research about whether you should east before or after your morning workout. Nutritionist Damien Kelly suggests a pre-workout banana or piece of toast will allow you to have a better workout which leads to a better energy burn. If you choose to eat after exercise, don't wait too long. "Getting a meal in early before you sit down at your desk to start your day will jump-start your metabolism and keep your appetite under wraps to reduce your chance of overeating later on," dietitian and sports nutritionist Cristina Rivera told Cosmopolitan.

I caught this gorgeous sunrise on yesterday's morning adventure

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