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Which is Best? Morning Walks vs Evening Walks

Coffee vs Tea... Saturday vs Sunday.... Morning walks vs Evening walks.... these are the great debates that crave answers. We've scrolled & strolled through the benefits of morning walks vs evening walking benefits and compiled them for you in this article. It's time to put one foot in front of the other and follow the trail of information to answer the question: is it better to walk in the morning, or the evening?!
Published: October 24, 2021
Categories: Health & Wellness
Is it better to walk  in the morning or evening

You might assume that there isn’t much science involved when it comes to walking, but you’ll be surprised to know that putting one foot in front of the other actually has a lot of theory behind it.  Lung functionality, muscle & skin health, mental alacrity and body temperature can all be impacted by simply going for a walk.  A bit of exercise can go a long way towards reinvigorating your metabolism, helping you to feel wakeful, or even support your body’s recovery from an injury. You probably know a few people who are committed to their 10 minute walks before or after meals, but have you ever wondered what kinds of benefits a simple stroll like this can achieve? Some people go walking before bed to lose weight, while others prefer faster walking to sharpen their mind as one of the benefits of morning walks.

The duration of your walk and how strenuous the terrain/pace will undoubtedly influence your walk-fitness success, but the timing of your walks is also very important. Is it better to walk in the morning or evening? What are the benefits of walking in the morning? Are evening walking benefits greater? Let’s take some steps towards understanding the benefits of morning walks vs evening walking benefits. Put on your best running shoes and don’t forget to bring some water, because we’re going to walk all over the great morning vs evening walking debate!

IS IT BETTER TO WALK IN THE MORNING OR EVENING?

Exercising at certain times of the day can have a myriad of benefits that can change depending on how consistently you stick to these periods of physical activity.  Most people prefer working out early in the morning, before work or as a jumpstart to their day.  On the flip side, many of us barely have enough time to get ready for our day, let alone get sweaty from a workout or run and THEN shower, etc.  For these reasons, after-dinner workouts or pre-bedtime exercise have gained a lot of traction in recent years.

Instead of focusing on the benefits of all kinds of physical exertion, we’re going to talk about the easiest of the bunch: walking.  Are you an avid fast walker? Do you go for 10 minute walks before or after lunch/dinner? If you’re already committed to walking whenever you can to kickstart your metabolism or get your blood pumping then we applaud you.  Walking might seem too simple to be of any real benefit, but this everyday thing we do to get around can actually be utilized to supplement your fitness during times where your schedule doesn’t allow you to hit the gym or do more strenuous exercise.

morning walk benefits faster walking

What are the benefits of walking?  Besides the obvious reward of getting from one place to another, walking can positively impact your health by:

  • Increasing cardiovascular fitness
  • Balancing pulmonary functionality (heart + lungs)
  • Reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke, respiratory illnesses and more
  • Improving your body’s blood pressure, blood sugars, cholesterol, muscle & joint elasticity
  • Improving balance, responsiveness and muscle memory
  • Increasing endurance
  • Reducing your body fats

The best part about walking is that it doesn’t cost anything, you don’t need any equipment or technical know-how, and you can do it almost anywhere.  Got 15 minutes of free time? Go for a 10 minute walk in a nearby park! Stuck in the office all day but need a hard brain-reset? Try faster walking around the halls or up and down the stairs and we’re sure you’ll get some stress relief.  Struggling to lose weight after the overeating holiday season? Walking before bed to lose weight or after meals can really help to shed some extra pounds, and you don’t even need to exert yourself that much to accomplish weight loss!

Walking seems to be one of those “one a day keeps the doctor away” activities we can use to support good health & fitness.  Walking won’t cure any of your health problems, nor can it replace diet, exercise or medical treatments for what ails you.  Nonetheless, spending a little bit of time walking a few times a day will definitely help you to stay fit, be active, sleep better, eat healthier, have more energy and balance your mental & physical alacrity.

Now that we have the gist of what makes walking beneficial for your health, let’s answer the hotly debated question: is it better to walk in the morning or the evening?

BENEFITS OF WALKING IN THE MORNING

Why would anyone want to drag themselves out of bed earlier than usual, just to put on some runners and a tracksuit and go for a cold morning walk?! It’s a fair question, especially if you’re like most people who struggle to get enough sleep every night as it is.  Regardless of how dreary-eyed this idea might make you feel, there are a ton of benefits of morning walks that you need to know before you decide to hit the snooze button.

For starters, let’s review the top five benefits of walking in the morning:

morning walking benefits

Appetite & Metabolism

Walking for 30 – 60 minutes at a brisk pace can help to reduce your cravings for snacks (especially the unhealthy ones!) and can balance your metabolism by burning calories and helping you to feel energized.  You can further support healthy weight loss with faster walking in the morning due to your increased need for hydration, forcing you to drink more water and less caffeinated beverages at the onset of your day.

benefits sleep wake cycles

Optimize Your Sleep-Wake Cycles

Early morning fitness junkies will tell you the same thing – there’s no better way to supercharge your mind & body than with a healthy dose of exercise in the morning.  Not only will walking before or after breakfast help you to feel more wakeful, but morning walks will actually assist you in sleeping more consistently.  An evening walk on top of your morning one will undoubtedly compound your success with resetting your sleep-wake cycles, but we’ll touch on evening walking benefits later on in this article.

walking in Morning for Metabolism

Healthier Habits, Healthier You

Whether you prefer 10 minute walk increments or the long-haul endurance walks for an hour or more, doing so in the morning will support other healthy habits like drinking less caffeine (you’re already awake!), eating a balanced breakfast (you’ll be hungrier!) and performing better at work (your mind is clear and your body is energized!).  It’s no surprise that most of the top earners at most companies are the “early riser” types who get in a good morning workout, walk to work, or both.

walking in morning to reduce stress

Stress Relief With Every Step

Putting one foot in front of the other is simple, and it’s something we can all accomplish.  When you’re struggling with mental health issues like stress, anxiety or even a physical injury, a quick walk in the morning can go a long way towards clearing your mind of negativity.  Breathing fresh air, physically exerting yourself and getting some vitamin D from the sun are very powerful treatments for any kind of stress.  We often overcomplicate things by relying on medications, therapy and other human constructs to cope with our increasing stress loads.  In truth, sometimes the simplest things like reading a good book, listening to music or going for a walk outside in the morning are all you need to rejuvenate your mind, body & soul.

morning walks benefits breathing

Breathe In, Breathe Out… Step One, Step Two

Simply put, one of the nicest benefits of morning walks has to do with breathing fresh air.  Air pollution is at its lowest in the morning – before the hustle and bustle of civilization clogs it up with fumes, chemicals and worse – so it just makes sense to walk in the morning.  Call it “a breather” instead of “a walk” if you want, but there’s no denying the surge of energy, the wave of wakefulness, the dissipation of worries and the clean, jovial feeling you get from a deep breath of fresh, morning air.

Morning walks are certainly full of other ancillary benefits, but we want to offer a few cautionary downsides to brisk morning walking just in case:

  • Your muscles & joints are often stiff, forcing you to walk slower or push yourself harder in the early hours of the day
  • Temperatures are almost always much lower in the morning, so warmer clothes and warmups before a morning walk are essential
  • It is easier to injure yourself if you’re waking up and going straight to walking in the morning
  • It’s understood that the average human body burns more calories in the latter half of the day than the start of it, so weight loss from walking in the morning might be reduced when compared to evening walks
  • We often have more time to ourselves in the evenings, so morning walks can put pressure on your already too-busy morning routine

EVENING WALKING BENEFITS

For most late night walkers, walking before bed to lose weight or walking before or after dinner to help tire themselves out for a better sleep are at the top of their reasons for evening strolls.  There’s a lot of evening walk proponents that argue the benefits of afternoon walks are far greater than those silly morning strollers.  Is it better to walk in the morning or the evening?! Let’s follow the path of the top five evening walking benefits to find out:

Counting Down Calories

Evening walks are known to lead to more successful weight loss due to your body’s tendency to use up more calories in the later portions of the day.  Walking before or after a large meal like dinner can also help to balance your metabolism and potentially reduce your appetite to healthier levels, so walking in the evening seems to be a no-brainer for those looking to maintain a certain physique.

evening walking benefits calorie counting

Reader’s Digest? More Like Walker’s Digest!

Anyone who takes their dog for an evening walk knows that it helps them to digest their food, burns up some energy and leads to a quieter night for all, so why don’t we apply that same logic to ourselves?! Walking in the evening can support balanced blood sugar levels – many diabetics are devoted walkers before and after meals – and a walk after dinner will also support healthy digestion of all that yummy food.

evening walking benefits digestive system

Walk All Over Your Worries

Just like with morning walks, evening walking benefits your stress levels and can help to counter feelings of anxiety.  Just by walking for 30 – 60 minutes at night, you can clear your head, ease your tense muscles and synergize your mind & body as you prepare to wind-down for bedtime.  For many people the only way they can destress without relying on substances or supplements is to go for a walk in the afternoon or evening.  Want to be a happier person for your friends & family? Then walk it off!

walking in evening for anxiety relief

Take A Stroll Down Sleepy Dreamer’s Lane

If you’re a fan of sleeping – and who isn’t?! – then you need to include an evening walk in your nighttime routine.  Faster walking in the afternoon, 10 minute walks at night or walking before or after dinner can work wonders for insomniacs because it resets your cluttered mind, eases muscle tension and burns up some of that residual energy you may or may not have.  Similar to evening workouts, just be sure to leave an hour or so between your walk and when you go to bed – a hydration break, sleepy tea session or relaxing with a book before you get ready for sleep are all great ways to bridge this gap.

evening walks for rest and relaxation

Nighttime = The Right Time For Exercise

On the contrary to morning walks where you might be a little stiff or slow to warm up, evening walks have the benefit of being in the ideal time of day for physical exertion.  You might feel tired from a busy day energy-wise, but your muscles, joints and bodily functionality are at their peak in the later afternoon-evening.  If you’re more loose, less stiff or sore that means you’ll be less likely to injure yourself on your brisk nocturnal stroll.

morning vs evening walk benefits for health and happiness

There are a few cons to consider when walking in the evening, so be sure to keep these in mind when you’re lacing up your runners in the latter part of the day:

  • It’s dark! Bring a light, or no amount of less-tense muscles will help you if you’re tripping all over things in the night
  • Air pollution will likely peak during the afternoon/evening, so try to walk in nature as much as you can to avoid the toxicity of the city
  • Fatigue and bodily wear-and-tear can accumulate towards the end of the day

CONCLUSION?

So, what’s the skinny on walking? It’s very basic: when you’re wondering whether it’s better to walk in the morning or the evening, the answer is to DO BOTH! When you commit to healthy habits like walking in the morning to energize your mind & body or taking an evening stroll to wind down, you’ll find that being happier & healthier really are as simple as putting one foot in front of the other.

Written By

Jace Jeffords

Jace is a content writer in the field of natural/alternative health & fitness. Living in the beautiful city of Denver, Jace developed his passion for nature as an avid hiker, biker and adventure seeker. Since the legalization of hemp CBD with the Farm Bill in December 2018, Jace has focused his efforts on exploring the world of cannabinoids and natural health practices to help his readers discover all the benefits of the Verlota Health lifestyle.

DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Verlota Inc. products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information contained in or made available through Verlota.com website is not intended to constitute or substitute legal advice or consultation from medical or veterinary professionals. See verlota.com/terms-and-conditions

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