Take a Morning Walk: Be Better Challenge

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Take a Morning WalkBenefits to taking a morning walk.

Yes, it is hard to get up earlier then you already have to, but devoting time to a morning walk is worth it. You can take an early morning stroll with hot tea in your hand, or you can make it a power walk or even a meditative walk. There are benefits to each type of walk so, best of all, switch it up.

The Be Better Challenge this week is to take a morning walk every day this week. Get up 30 minutes earlier than normal, throw on your clothes and head outside.

A couple of guidelines to your Be Better morning walks: · Try to walk for 30 minutes; but if you can’t fit in a whole 30 minutes, don’t let that stop you. Even a five-minute walk is better than nothing. · Walking with a friend or family member is great, but commit to at least one solo walk. Take advantage of the alone, “you” time. · During the walk is a perfect time to think and reflect on the day ahead. But try at least once to do a meditative walk. This is where you will focus on your breathing, notice how your body feels as you take each step and take note of your surroundings.

Morning WalksThe benefits of such a simple change in the day impact both your physical and mental health. Why is walking so impactful? Because it is exercise and, better yet, it is outdoor exercise.

Four reasons walking is beneficial to your mental state:

1. Increases happiness. Walking is exercise, and when you exercise, you release endorphins. Endorphins are a chemical that interacts with receptors in your brain. These receptors reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in your body. Exercise has been proven to treat clinical depression and can be an effective alternative to antidepressants.

2. Improves mental alertness. Walking improves blood circulation, which includes blood circulation to your brain. According to neuroscience researcher and Harvard University Professor Dr. John Ratey, exercise also elevates brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein that plays a major role in how your brain can adapts and learns to overcome new challenges.

3. Allows for meditation. Taking a morning walk allow you to clear your mind before you start your busy day. Sometimes it is hard to make time for yourself during the day, so commit to this time first thing in the morning. Be present, focus on your breathing and become aware of your body.

4. Encourages you to identify with your neighborhood. We live in a culture where we spend most of our time in our neighborhood either in our house or in the car. While walking, greet your neighbors with hellos and eye contact. Taking morning walks will help you feel more like a part of your community.

The physical benefits of walking are highlighted on listdose.com, in the article, “10 Reasons Why Morning Walks are Important for your Health.” Items on the list are: cardiovascular health, stress reduction, overall health, brainpower, muscular strength, management and prevention of diabetes and hypertension, weight loss, reduced risk of cancer, better sleep and a better day.