The alarm clock starts to ring and you can’t turn it off fast enough. You’re exhausted; you want five more minutes, just five! A full hour later, you roll out of bed behind schedule and rush off to work, still feeling exhausted.
We’ve all had that morning where it felt as though the deck was stacked against us. Waking up with the sensation of an “energy deficit” is a common experience, and, unfortunately, it’s a feeling that stays with you throughout your day, no matter how much coffee you pound down at your desk.
More effective than caffeine, early morning exercise can give you the mental and metabolic boost you need to tackle your day with composure and energy to spare. If the idea of working out in the a.m. is off-putting (and even if you’re a pre-dawn yoga class veteran), our simple suggestion for a strong start to the day is to take a morning walk.
Walking takes no planning, no equipment, and lasts, of course, as long as you want. A quick tour around your block, or even through your house or apartment, has the added benefits of being potentially fat-burning, as low-intensity aerobic exercise typically burns more fat than does cardio, and of jump-starting your metabolism.
A recent study conducted by researchers at Northumbria University found that study participants who took brisk morning walks over a period of 3 days used up, on average, 33% more fat than those who exercised later, after having eaten breakfast. This is because exercising before meals forces the body to rely on its fat stores to provide the energy necessary for the workout.
More than being a beneficial fitness strategy, morning walks also allow you to clear your mind and have a moment of repose before you tackle your tasks for the day.
Next time that alarm clock rings, reach for your walking shoes instead of hitting snooze! You’ll feel all the better for it.
4. Farah, Nor M. F. & Gill, Jason M. R. (2013). Effects of exercise before or after meal ingestion on fat balance and postprandial metabolism in overweight men. British Journal of Nutrition, 109(12). 2297-2307.
5. Gonzalez, Javier T; Veasey, Rachel C.; Rumbold, Penny L.S. & Stevenson, Emma J. (2013) Breakfast and exercise contingently affect postprandial metabolism and energy balance in physically active males. British Journal of Nutrition, 110, 721-732.