The Best Time Of Day To Take A Walk, According To Science

Walking is a simple and effective exercise you can do every day to benefit your physical and mental health. Look for openings in your daily schedule to add in a daily walk. It could be on your way to work, during your lunch break, while taking a phone call, or in the evening with friends.

Walking can reduce your systolic blood pressure and may lower your heart rate, according to a 2021 study that examined 73 trials including a total of 5,763 people ages 16 to 84. Walking is good for your heart and can prevent heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another study published in April 2018 found that 10 minutes of walking improved cognitive brain function. There are so many benefits to walking, even if it's for only 10 minutes a day, but what is the best time of day to take a walk? 


If you wake up early, taking a walk in the morning just makes sense. A 2012 study found that people who walked on a treadmill for 45 minutes in the morning had less interest in photos of food and ended up moving more throughout the day. People in the study walked at about 3.8 miles per hour, and researchers compared that with a day of no exercise.

If you have trouble sticking to your exercise routine, Piedmont recommends exercising in the morning because you'll have fewer excuses and distractions, and you'll gain a sense of accomplishment. You'll also have a better attention span and mental clarity.

However, walking in the morning can have disadvantages you should consider. Darkness can affect your safety if you're walking before the sun comes up, so if you're walking in the dark, My Fitness Pal suggests using reflective wear and a headlamp so drivers can see you. Of course, always be aware of your surroundings. 


Taking a walk at lunchtime can break up your workday and get some movement in, which is especially good if you're sitting all day. Walking increases the blood flow to your brain because when your foot hits the ground, it sends pressure waves through your arteries (via ScienceDaily). 

A 30-minute walk on your lunch break can have some benefits for your mental health at work, according to a 2015 study. The participants of this study walked for 30 minutes during lunchtime for 10 weeks. They reported feeling less nervous, more relaxed, and more enthusiastic for the rest of the day. 

As the American Heart Association points out, one disadvantage to a walk at noon is that you may or may not be able to change into workout clothes in the middle of the day. If you can't, then you might find morning or evening walks better because you can take a shower and change your clothes when you're done, but if your walks are casual, you may not need to change clothes or shower afterwards.


Exercising in the afternoon can help you build muscle and experience better performance, per a 2011 study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. In addition, a 2020 study found that walking in the afternoon may help you lose more fat, manage your blood sugar, and have less insulin resistance. The study examined men with obesity who exercised in the afternoon for 12 weeks and compared them to morning walkers.

On the other hand, you may have less energy in the afternoon, making it easy for you to say no to your daily walk. The American Heart Association recommends eating a small snack one to two hours before your walk to avoid an energy slump. If that doesn't help, you may want to walk in the morning instead. 


It can be easier to schedule a daily walk in the evening, but keep these pros and cons in mind. Walking after each meal can help you keep your blood sugar under control. A 2013 study found that three 15 minute walks after each meal was better for your blood sugar levels than walking for 45 minutes in the morning. A 2016 study found that a 10-minute walk after dinner was great for people with type 2 diabetes. 

However, safety is a concern when walking in the dark, so take precautions like wearing reflective gear and paying attention to your surroundings (per My Fitness Pal). You'll also have a day of distractions and potential excuses for you to not exercise, which can easily get in the way of your evening walks. The best time of day to schedule a daily walk is when you are most able to go for a walk and enjoy it the most.