Whether it’s digesting your food, de-stressing after a long day, or preparing your body for a good night’s sleep, nighttime walks have many benefits. So if you also like an early dinner and a night walk, this is for you! Well, your night walk might help you lose weight too!
Can night walks help you lose weight?
The holidays have arrived and arriving seems like an inevitable reality. However, incorporating a night walk into your daily schedule can actually help you stay on your weight loss path. Wanitha Ashok, fitness coach and Fit India ambassador, tells Health Shots the different ways a night walk can help prevent weight gain. Here are some key benefits of walking after dinner:
1. Burns calories
Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be done at any time of the day, including at night. Night walks can help you burn calories and lose weight.
2. Increases metabolism
There’s nothing better than an after-dinner walk to get your body moving! Walking at night can help boost your metabolism, which is the rate at which your body burns calories. A faster metabolism actually burns more calories and helps you lose weight.
3. Reduces stress
Walking outdoors and reassessing your entire day as you do can be a good way to clear your head. Stress can lead to overeating and unhealthy food choices, so reducing stress can help you make better choices; and night walks can help reduce stress levels, which can contribute to weight gain.
4. Helps you sleep better
Poor sleep has been linked to weight gain, so getting enough restful sleep is essential. Night walks can help improve your sleep quality, which is important for weight loss.
When is the right time to take a night walk?
Although you can go to bed late at night, taking a walk at that time may not be ideal. Ashok says it’s a good idea to head out right after your last meal. “Keep it casual and don’t add speed or intensity as that can affect sleep,” she warns.
What should you not do during your night walk?
Although a refreshing evening walk has many health benefits, there are some things you should avoid during this walk. Ashok says don’t try to exercise during your night walk. “Intensive exercise late at night should not be done as it can lead to insomnia. Light walks after eating are recommended as this is beneficial in maintaining blood sugar levels,” she says.
In fact, she says it’s important to keep the walk as relaxing as possible. “You should not take a brisk walk, run or even jog when you go out in the evening. Even if it’s just a regular walk, wear good shoes and go outside,” she says.
Ashok adds that the duration of the walk should also not be one that exhausts you completely. “Aim for just 20 minutes,” she advises, adding: “A brisk walk should ideally take place early in the morning or later in the evening between 5 and 6 p.m., and no later than that. Dinner must take place early and no later than 7:00 PM. Ideally, 7:30 PM should be the time you head out for your causal walk.
Is a night walk better than a morning walk?
If you’re not a morning person, getting up early for a morning walk may not be something you enjoy doing. But maybe it’s time to set the alarm! While evening walks are great for keeping yourself in shape, there’s no better way to start your fitness journey than with a morning walk. It also prepares you for your day!
“Morning walks help you start the day on the right foot. It helps set the mood, improves the mind through the release of endorphins and keeps you active and energetic for the rest of the day. Fasting cardio helps the body use stored fat as energy, so it is essential that this is done in the morning,” says Ashok.
She adds that there is a chance that evening walks may not even happen. “It’s actually very easy to miss evening walks. You may be late for work, a dinner date may take a long time, or even a tiring day or late work calls may tempt you to cancel your walk. I advise people to finish their workouts in the morning, stay active throughout the day, take regular breaks and incorporate the causal walk after eating,” she says.
Day or night, make sure you walk at least those 10,000 steps a day!