Benefits of Summer Night Mini Walks

Can a short walk on a summer's night impact your health?

Not only can it impact your body's health, but it can improve your emotional, spiritual and mental well being as well.

Whether it is after a meal, or right before you go to bed, enjoying a short walk, 5 minutes to 15 minutes can bring many benefits. Summer is a time when we are busy, and the days are hot. Often, that relaxing cooler wave of temperatures is the only time to truly enjoy the outdoors without the glaring sun, sweat and discomfort of hot humidity. Warm summer evenings give that end to the day, that allows us to reflect on the day's events and think about the next day.

 

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People of faith traditions especially enjoy a reflective time at the end or beginning of a day. What many people in churches call "quiet time" is simply a time to pray, talk with God, read, reflect and just stop being busy. Jesus himself, was noted for waking up early in the morning to spend time with God, his father. This special time, when the world has either wound down or yet to wake, gives spiritual benefits for its users. 

 

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One of the most enjoyable activities for this is a summer evening walk. Looking at the stars. Praying. Talking with your loved one. And a side benefit is the physical . . . weight loss, increased long-term metabolism, better sleep, breathing, digestion of dinner. The list goes on.

Research shows that short walks after meals, or any light exercise for that matter, helps the body to process and break down food. It also leaves your body with a slightly higher metabolism during sleep. Although this may sound like it will keep you awake, the opposite effect actually occurs. Walkers sleep better, even after a gentle evening walk. 2.  In fact, a study in the journal Sleep found that: "Exercise boosts the effect of natural sleep hormones such as melatonin". 

While we can also walk during winter, spring, and fall evenings, there is something magical about summer evenings. If you live in some areas of the country, you may see lightning bugs glimmer. Or, for many, the sound of crickets, locusts, frogs, and nighttime insects gives a sense of peace and relaxation. There's no need to bundle up, just dress casual. 

The movement of your legs, upper body, added breathing, and digestive organs, all work together during walks to make for a holistic rhythm, if practiced daily. Walking shortly after dinner is best, as it will have the highest results for weight loss. 1. Also, brisk walking does have more results, but a stroll may be better for preventing discomfort. A gentle walk still has the most consistent benefits. 1.

Some may even find the cool blades of grass rubbing through their feet at a local park or greenbelt a perfect end to a long hot day.

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If you haven't started, perhaps consider your local neighborhood. Pick your block and walk around it. Then, over time, pick other blocks or expand to include multiple blocks. Start small, and make it enjoyable. Add variety and once in a while, consider going to a park or new area to mix it up. It doesn't have to be a race. A summer evening's walk can be a gentle exercise that you can easily grow fond of for years to come.

 

 

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Mike Cutler -  Earth Trek Trails and Walking Health Contributor Author page

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References

 

1.

. 2011; 4: 447–450.
Published online 2011 Jun 9. doi: 10.2147/IJGM.S18837
PMCID: PMC3119587
PMID: 21731896

Walking just after a meal seems to be more effective for weight loss than waiting for one hour to walk after a meal

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3119587/

 

2. National Sleep Foundation Poll Finds that Exercise Key to Good Sleep

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-poll-finds-exercise-key-good-sleep

3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/sleep/8-secrets-to-a-good-nights-sleep

 

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