Is your morning walk making you fat?

Is your morning walk making you fat?

There can be no better way to start the day.  Up early, throw on the joggers and set out on a brisk one hour walk through the neighbourhood.  You arrive home with a touch of sweat, a smile and feeling great…. and feeling HUNGRY!

You tuck into a big bowl of muesli with some low fat yoghurt and fruit with a cup of coffee and the day is off to a flying start.

By 9:30am though, there is a very real chance you may eat your colleague’s arm off if she keeps waving it about. You pop down to the kitchen and if you are good, you might have a piece of fruit… blueberry muffins are a fruit, right?

You swear the clock is going backwards as it approaches 11:30… It’s not too early for lunch is it?  It does leave room for afternoon tea. Getting the picture?

Walking first thing in the morning before you have anything to eat is a great way to burn fat.  With no glucose in your system, your body looks to the fat cells to for its energy.

But this isn’t the end of the story.  Your metabolism will be roaring all day and chance are, like most of us, you will be surrounded by temptation with a hunger that you just can’t satiate. If you can be completely disciplined with food, then your morning walk is probably doing your waistline the world of good.  If you have a weakness for putting food in your mouth, exercising in the morning may be a piece of the 5 kilograms of jigsaw puzzle that you carry around your waist!  The walk probably burnt off 150 calories which is easily erased by a couple of poor choices during the day.

But the morning is the only time I have to exercise…

Then continue.  Exercise in the morning can be very positive.  Your walking routine is helping to increase your bone and muscle density, improve circulation, benefitting your lunges, heart as well as helping you to interact with those in the neighbourhood (great for the brain). If you have to, or like to exercise first thing in the morning then ditch the sugary muesli, with the low fat yogurt (high sugar) and the coffee (caffeine = the enemy).  Go for a breakfast that will satiate you for longer.  Simple carbs like sugars and bread are no good. The best thing to keep you from de-limbing your colleague is breakfast with fat and protein.  Porridge, baked beans, eggs, vegetables, or my favourite, leftovers.

Sometimes I feel light headed or exhausted after my morning walk.

I hate hangovers too! Just kidding. That light headedness is most probably just low blood sugar.  You have burnt off all this energy and your body is asking for more.  Do you feel better after breakfast?  Yep, that was low blood sugar. I know it is not nice doing exercise with a belly full of breakfast but this may make you feel better.  And you know what… feeling better not only feels great but you are much more likely to continue your routine without the post exercise blues.

The take home message

If you are like me and enjoy exercise in the morning but you are easily tempted by food during the day, then try pushing up the fat and protein contents of your breakfast.  Also, try having breakfast before you go for your walk. You may just find this will reduce your hunger. Remember, weight management (not necessarily overall health) is 75% diet and 25% exercise.  Being satiated is key because the fridge is a vile temptress and she usually wins!

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