Whether it’s digesting your food, de-stressing after a long day, or preparing your body for restful sleep, nighttime walks have many benefits. So, if you also like to dine early and stroll in the evening, this one is for you! Well, your nighttime walk could also help you lose weight!
Can evening walks help lose weight?
The holiday season is here and gaining weight seems like an inevitable reality. However, including an evening walk in your daily schedule can actually help you continue your weight loss journey. Wanitha Ashok, fitness trainer and Fit India ambassador, talks to Health Shots about the different ways an evening 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. Nighttime walks can help you burn calories and lose weight.
2. Stimulates metabolism
There’s nothing like a walk after dinner 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 burns more calories and helps you lose weight.
3. Reduces stress
Walking outdoors and reevaluating your entire day while you do it can be a great way to clear your mind. Stress can lead to overeating and unhealthy food choices. Reducing stress can therefore help you make better choices; and evening 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 restorative sleep is essential. Walking at night can help improve your sleep quality, which is important for weight loss.
What is the right time to take a night walk?
Although you may stay up late at night, taking a walk at that time may not be ideal. Ashok says going out right after your last meal is a good idea. “Keep it relaxed and don’t add speed or intensity as this can impact sleep,” she warns.
What not to do on your evening walk?
Although taking a refreshing walk in the evening has many health benefits, there are some things you should avoid while taking this walk. Ashok says you should not try to workout during your night walk. “Late evening strenuous exercise should not be done as it can lead to insomnia. Light walks after dinner are recommended as they are favorable for maintaining blood sugar levels,” she says.
In fact, she says it’s important to keep the walk as relaxing as possible. “Brisk walking, running and even jogging should not be done when you go out at night. Even if it’s a causal walk, wear good shoes and go out,” she says.
Ashok adds that the duration of the walk shouldn’t completely tire you out either. “Aim for just 20 minutes,” she advises, adding: “Brisk walking should ideally take place early in the morning or later in the evening between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., at the latest. Dinner should take place early and should be finished no later than 7:00 p.m. Ideally, 7:30 p.m. should be the time you leave for your causal walk.
Is a night walk better than a morning walk?
If you’re not a morning person, waking 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 staying in shape, there’s no better way to start your fitness journey than a morning walk. It also prepares you for your day!
“Morning walks help you start the day off right. It helps set the mood, lifts your mood through the release of endorphins, and keeps you active and energetic the rest of the day. Fasted cardio helps the body use stored fat as energy, which is why it’s essential that it happens in the morning,” says Ashok.
She adds that nighttime walks may not even happen. “It’s actually very easy to miss evening walks. You might be late for work, or dinner might drag on or even a tiring day or late calls at work might make you cancel your walk. I suggest people complete their workouts in the morning, stay active throughout the day, take breaks periodically, and include causal walking after dinner,” she says.
Night or day, just make sure you get at least those 10,000 steps a day!