The Incredible Powers of Going on a Walk Each Morning

Photo by Marshal Quast on Unsplash

Mind

A morning walk is the best way to wake your brain up for the day, because the sun’s daylight enters your eyes and communicates to your brain that it’s time to stop sleeping. But there are even more positive benefits from moderate sunlight exposure. Sunlight signals serotonin production in the brain, which raises your mood. It also helps your body absorb vitamin D, which is responsible for many important functions in your body and boosts your immune system. Research studies have even correlated walking with increased creative thinking and improved memory.

Body

I’m thirty years old and consider myself a mostly fit person, but this year I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and have been dealing with debilitating pain and discomfort ever since. I used to work out daily, but as I discovered with my diagnosis, most forms of exercise actually cause stress and inflammation in the body, which is not good for arthritis. Walking, however, is easy on the body and still offers multiple health benefits. In fact, researchers have found that moderate walking offers the same health benefits as vigorous running —improves endurance and circulation, prevents weight gain, and lowers the risk of stroke, chronic disease and cancer — but is much easier on the joints.

Soul

This is the most important benefit to a daily walk outside. I started this habit because of what I read about the power of “sisu” as part of the Finnish lifestyle. Of course, there are many health benefits to spending time out in nature, because we human beings simply belong there — breathing fresh air, feeling the natural temperature, and dealing with the elements. But even more importantly, in the modern era, humans spend far too much time in artificial environments, which not only destroys our health, but also our spirit. Truthfully, I started going on morning walks to replace my old habit of waking up and instantly checking my phone. I have to say that going on walks is much more soul-satisfying. The morning walk is now my sacred quiet time before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. I have time to reflect on life and check in with myself, which also nourishes the soul.

Stories of a former high school teacher, now business consultant. Husband. Travel fanatic. Obsessed coffee drinker. And all-around nerd.

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