Walking is a simple and effective way to improve your physical and mental health. It can help you burn calories, reduce stress, boost your mood and even lower your blood pressure. But when is the best time to go for a walk? Should you do it in the morning or in the evening?
Morning walk vs evening walk
The time of day you choose to go for a walk will usually depend on your personal preferences, goals and schedule. While a walk at any time of the day is better than no walk at all, both morning and evening walks have their benefits and drawbacks.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons below.
Benefits of a morning walk
- A morning walk can energise and uplift you, giving you a positive start to your day.
- Weight loss may be more achievable with a morning walk, as it can reduce appetite while boosting metabolism for the day ahead.
- Better sleep and a well-adjusted body clock can be accomplished through morning walks, helping to reset your circadian rhythm.
- Early morning walks can help you bypass traffic and air pollution, which are generally lower during the first few hours of sunrise.
Drawbacks of a morning walk
- Your body temperature is usually lower first thing in the morning, meaning you’ll feel less energetic than at later points in the day.
- A morning walk may be hard to do if you are not a morning person or if you have a busy schedule. You may need to wake up earlier and sacrifice some sleep time.
- More warming up and stretching may be required as your muscles are usually colder and stiffer after a night’s rest.
Benefits of an evening walk
- Unwinding and relaxing after a long day is easier with an evening walk, which can also help manage stress and anxiety, ultimately improving mental health.
- Post-dinner evening walks may aid the control of blood sugar levels and enhance digestion, while preventing acid reflux.
- By the evening, your muscles have had the whole day to warm up. This can make your evening walk more efficient by enabling you to add more power to your stride.
- An evening walk can help you sleep by aiding relaxation, reducing stress and regulating your circadian rhythm, ultimately leading to a better night’s rest.
Drawbacks of an evening walk
- A walk close to bedtime may interfere with your sleep quality, resulting in you feeling too alert and stimulated, which can make it harder to fall asleep.
- An evening walk may expose you to more traffic and air pollution, which are usually higher towards the end of the day.
- Walking in areas with poor lighting or high crime rates may pose safety risks. It is important to choose a safe route for your walk, be aware of your surroundings, and consider walking with a companion.
Morning walk vs evening walk for weight loss
If your main motivation for walking is to lose weight, both morning and evening walks can help you achieve your goals. However, there may be some differences in how they affect your weight loss progress.
- A morning walk can help you burn fat more efficiently due to your body using fat as its main source of energy when you exercise before breakfast. It can also help you suppress your hunger and make you less tempted to snack throughout the day.
- An evening walk can help you burn more calories overall, as your body uses more energy when you exercise after eating meals. It can also help you prevent overeating at night and reduce your blood sugar spikes after dinner.
The best time to walk for weight loss may depend on your personal preferences and lifestyle. Some people may find it easier to stick to a morning routine, while others prefer an evening stroll after their evening meal. The most important thing is to be consistent and enjoy your walks.
Should I walk every day?
A brisk 10 minute daily walk every day has multiple health benefits and counts towards your 150 minutes of weekly exercise, as recommended by the NHS. Once walking is firmly embedded in your daily routine, you can start to increase the pace and intensity of your walks over time, boosting your health and wellbeing further.
Ultimately, the best time to go for a walk depends on what works best for you and your lifestyle. Here at LiveWell Dorset, our fantastic team of Wellness specialists can offer tips and guidance on how to make walking a habit and recommend a variety of walking apps and resources to help get you started. We can also develop personalised fitness plans tailored to you and your preferences. Register with us today to find out more.