Surprising Benefits Of Talking A Morning Walk

Walking is generally an underrated exercise. Many of us have memories of our coaches yelling at us to pick up the pace during gym class. The image of suburban moms power-walking their way through the neighborhood has been played for laughs for years, including Bev's competition with her neighbor on "The Goldbergs."

Our coaches and comedy writers might not have been as quick to dismiss the benefits of walking if they knew what we know today. The Harvard Medical School lays out several significant benefits, starting with revelations from a study carried out by the university itself. Certain people are more likely to become obese as a result of their genes, but as researchers discovered, taking regular walks can reduce the effect of those genes by half.

Harvard doesn't limit the benefits to those discovered in its own studies, however. It also cites other studies that found links between walking and a reduction in sugar cravings, a lowered risk of breast cancer, and a healthier immune system. These are incredible benefits gained from just taking regular walks. Surprisingly, taking a walk in the morning can yield even more benefits.

The benefits of walking in the morning

Walking doesn't seem like the kind of exercise that would have a wide-ranging impact on your health, but as Harvard's research shows, it can. Eat This, Not That reveals that walking at certain times — specifically first thing in the morning — can pile on even more benefits.

The most surprising of these is that a brisk walk before breakfast — and even before your coffee if you're brave — can prime you to move more throughout your day. Far from leaving you lethargic and ready to crawl back under the covers, early walks expose you to more sunlight, which helps adjust your internal clock. It also makes exercise part of your daily routine, increasing the odds you'll keep moving throughout the day.

WebMD notes that walks are generally mood-boosting and mind-clearing. A study also found a link between regular walks and a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. You don't have to walk every morning to start seeing benefits, which is good news for people who have an early shift. However, working in a walk on your days off may just be the fitness boost you need.