It gets harder to stay fit as we age, but even a simple walk outside can work wonders—especially if that walk is conducted first thing in the morning.

Studies have shown that accomplishing this task before breakfast and your morning coffee can work wonders both physically and mentally. So with the warm-weather months here, perhaps you can get the person you care for into a new routine if they’re able to get out for some fresh air.

Centers Choice Home Care is highlighting three reasons to get out and moving as soon as you’re up and about.

  1. Walking Can Curb Depression

A study conducted by Harvard University found that walking one hour per day can cut depression symptoms by around 25%. You don’t have to do this all at once—breaking it down into 10- or 15-minute chunks is fine, but the first one should be done in the AM.

  1. Boosts Brain Power

Several studies found that walks clear your head and allow you to think better throughout the day. One found that walking in general improved creative thoughts and ideas among survey participants, and further research found that a 30-minute walk in the morning helps older adults with cognitive skills like thinking, memory, and clarity.

  1. Energy Boost & Appetite Suppressant

One study found that walking for just 10 minutes provided the same energy boost than the caffeine in a cup of coffee can bring. In addition, another study found that a 45-minute walk in the morning curbed the appetite of participants to the point where they were able to better resist eating tempting foods.

Focus on Time, Not Miles

The effort given is more important than how far you walk, especially since walking can be more difficult for some seniors. If you’re just starting out, aim for 30 minutes that is broken up in three 10-minute segments. If that works well, bump it up to 45 minutes and even an hour if you feel you can do it. As always, check with your or your loved one’s doctor before starting any exercise regimen.

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