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Walking briskly is a free and convenient way to lose weight or stay healthy. According to MayoClinic.com, walking can help improve your mood in addition to lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol. Although there are pros and cons to walking in the morning and evening, the important thing is that you walk and exercise. The best time of day to walk depends on your preference.
A 2011 study by Appalachian State University found that starting your walk by 7 a.m. could lead to lower blood pressure and better nighttime sleep patterns than people who walk in the middle of the day or in the evening. The study participants who walked in the morning had a 10 percent decrease in blood pressure throughout the day and a 25 percent decrease at night, even though it had been more than 12 hours since they exercised.
In the evening, your muscles have had all day to warm up. This can make your evening exercise more efficient by allowing you to add more power to your walk. A 2009 study by the University of Alberta found that people who are more alert in the evenings, often called night owls, tend to grow stronger throughout the day, peaking in the late evening. If you plan to power walk in the evening after dinner, give your body about two hours to digest the food. Vigorous exercise can cause your muscles to compete with the blood flow your body diverts to your digestive tract immediately after eating, making your workout and your digestion less effective. If you eat a small or medium-sized meal and plan to walk briskly but not at 100 percent of your capacity -- closer to 65 to 75 percent capacity -- walking right after eating shouldn't be a problem with most people.
Exercise is essential to staying healthy, whether you choose to walk in the morning or the evening. It's best to decide on a time of day that you can stick with so it becomes a habit. Finding a time when you feel energized, either morning or evening, and when it's convenient for you will help you stick to your exercise routine. If you try to plan your walking regimen when it's difficult to enjoy because your brain isn't awake yet or has started to shut down for the night, it will be a struggle to get out and walk regularly. Listen to your body's natural rhythm to determine the best time of day for your brisk walk.
Heavy weight training and bending exercises, such as sit-ups, aren't recommended for morning routines because your back is slightly elongated after lying down all night and needs time to shrink back into its normal state. If you plan to complete heavy workouts once during the day and walk once, stick to walking in the morning to reduce the chance of injury. Regardless of what time of day your walk, MayoClinic.com recommends you walk briskly for 30 to 60 minutes at least five days a week.