I’ve talked about my morning walk habit on and off for years. I’ve been on them, I’ve been off them. I’ve been a daily walker and I’ve fallen into a wintry malaise and hardly left my apartment. I’ve made wintry resolutions to to get up and move more and the cycle of movement…and lack thereof…has continued. But lately I’m taking my morning walks with renewed urgency and remembering why I feel so much better when I do.
The renewed interest has a lot to do with the fact that the incredible heat wave has finally calmed a bit, heralding some renewed energy. Mostly it has to do with the fact that Faye wakes up begging to go outside. Rather than sit around listening to whines for an hour while I groggily get myself ready for the day of work ahead, I’ve switched things around. The routine generally goes like this: get up, get out. On mornings when I know I have a bit extra time to get ready later, it’s a barely brush my teeth, pull on my shorts and shirt and a pair of sneaks and go kind of a situation. On mornings when I have less time post-walk, it’s a quick shower and a quicker getting dressed and we’re out the door and walking with James to the subway.
Either way, by the end of the walk I feel about a million times more ready to start the day than when I started out. Bonus for getting that smug “it’s not even 8:30 and I’ve already accomplished something” feeling. It’s been such a pleasant shift—for everyone.
I don’t have any advice that I’m sure will be totally universal; a morning walk may or may not be something you like to do and finding a time to exercise has so much to do with personal preferences, work schedules, and moods. There have been months when getting up and getting straight to work felt better than getting up and walking and months when doing either thing straightaway just didn’t feel possible. To everything, there is a season, etc.
But lately the keys to the habit shift for me have been these:
1. Eat a small breakfast (then treat yourself). I need a little time to get hungry in the morning anyway, so I’ve just been enjoying a cup of coffee and eating a square of toast before heading out. When I return home I make a larger, more satisfying breakfast that I’m ready to gobble before work. (Often our walks magically end close to a place where we can find a bagel and cream cheese or an egg-and-cheese on a hard roll to share. I’m never unhappy about this outcome.)
2. Don’t worry about what you look like. Arguably good advice for any day, but for days when you want to get up and go especially. I make myself mildly presentable, by making sure I’m fully clothed, that I’ve got a full water bottle, and keys and I’m out the door. (With Faye and her stroller of course.) On days when I need to get showered and dressed pre-walk, I’m admittedly also lax about the presentability factor. You can waste an awful lot of valuable walking time worrying about how your bangs are laying on your forehead.
3. Shift a task to the night before. One of the biggest impingements on me getting something done in the morning is feeling the need to finish some other, usually mundane, morning task. I’ll want to take a walk before work, but I’ll decide it’s a better idea to wipe down the kitchen counters and empty the dishwasher. I’ll want to take a walk, but I’ll remember I need to clean the bathroom. I’ll want to take a walk, but I’ll remember that I didn’t finish a post the day before, or photos need captioning, or emails need answering. Making a concerted effort to check one more thing off my list the night before means I can get up and go without feeling like I’m throwing the rest of the day off kilter or shirking some more-pressing responsibility.
What about you? Any morning exercisers out there? Tricks to getting it done?
For the curious: My sneaks are from All Birds (and they’re made from merino wool)!