Walking is one of the best ways to health and fitness. It is a low impact workout that does not stress the joints and comes with a whole range of health benefits. Many people go for a daily walk, sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the evening. This is also a great way to save yourself from hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and more. Cardiovascular fitness because of a daily walking habit is a long accepted fact. Now a new study from the department of Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai, titled ‘Effects of Morning Walking v/s Evening Walking on Cardiovascular Fitness in Adults,’ says that healthy people walking in the morning have superiority over subjects walking in the evening in terms of their vital capacity and peak expiratory flow.
For the purpose of the study, researchers looked at a total of 203 healthy adults walking 30 minutes for at least thrice a week, over a period of three months or more. The average age of the participants was 45-years. All the participants of the study were tested for their vital capacity (the maximum amount of air that can be inhaled after maximum expiration), peak expiratory flow (maximum speed of expiration), YMCA 3 min test (3-minute step-up and step down test), resting heart rate and blood pressure. People with any kind of musculoskeletal or joint pain and those performing indoor exercise were excluded from the study.
Morning walks oxygenated the blood, improved circulation
The results demonstrated that those participants who went for a walk in the morning enjoy better health than those who walk in the evening in terms of their vital capacity and peak expiratory flow. The researchers saw that morning walks enhanced the oxygen carrying ability of the blood, increased blood circulation and delivered blood to peripheral nerves. Another reason for high VC and PEFR in morning walkers was the probable effect of temperature and ozone, which is less concentrated in the evening.
Morning walkers had higher systolic and diastolic BP
The Resting Heart Rate between evening and morning walkers showed no statistical difference. However, more hypertensive individuals were found among evening walkers than in the morning. Morning walkers had higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure since they walk before taking their medicines, researchers said.
Researchers used YMCA categorization to assess the fitness level of individuals, based on how quickly the heart rate recovers after exercise. Overall physical fitness consists of five different elements: Aerobic or cardiovascular endurance, Muscular strength, Muscular endurance, Flexibility and Body composition. The YMCA test measures the duration of heart rate stabilization post-exercise. Fitter the individual, quicker the heart rate returns to normal.
It also improves lung capacity, builds muscle strength
More number of morning walkers (71) belonged to Excellent, Good and Above Average YMCA categories as compared to their evening (55) counterpart. Similarly, 46 evening walkers fell in Average, Below Average and Poor categories as compared to 28 morning walkers. Commenting on the results of the study, Prof. (Dr.) Ali Irani, Head of Department, Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital said, “With this study, we have statistically concluded that there are greater health benefits of morning walks as opposed to evening walks; benefits that extend beyond inhaling fresh air. While walking in itself improves heart health, regulates BP, improves circulation, improves lung capacity and builds muscle strength and endurance, morning walks, especially those taken between 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., have proven to build the highest vital capacity and peak expiratory flow rate among individuals.”
(With inputs from Agencies)
Published : April 9, 2021 8:14 am