During ‘lockdown’ I started to wake up at 5.30am, on most days. Some kind of inner clock, ticking in the background of my mind, would jar me awake and out of bed as the red light of dawn touched the edges of my window.
I started to go for a good walk. I found this time of day peaceful, restorative and it gave me time to contemplate the day ahead. When the restrictions ended, so did my resolve. I slipped back into late bedtimes and sleeping until my alarm. I fell into the old ‘normality’ of my life, old habits and routines pulling me back into a post pandemic world. Lately, I’ve realised how much I’ve been missing those walks and resolved to do something about it.
I have always had some special significance for the 1st of September, probably due to my own academic schedule as a student or a teacher, this date has evolved into my own New Year. So today, I started walking again. I had set the alarm but, to my amazement, I woke at 5.30am and jumped out of bed. Within ten minutes I was out of the door.
By 6am I was stood on a deserted beach, bathed in the warm amber glow of early morning and enjoying the company of seagulls on the shore. I picked some litter, beer cans and plastic and then found a few pieces of sea glass, and a lucky stone and shell. This was a good time to be here, so quiet and still, just the lap of the waves for company. I walked 4 miles before my return at 7.30am and I felt awake, as if I had accomplished something and I was ready for the day.
There are many benefits of walking early so I thought I’d share some of them with you.
- Boosts mood, raises endorphin levels.
- Reduces anxiety and stress.
- Reduces risk of depression.
- Can lower the risk of heart disease by 19%.
- Can lower blood sugar levels.
There are scientific studies that cover this if you need more details, facts and data. Personally, just feeling the vitality of the waves in the early morning is enough to persuade me that it’s worth it for mental clarity, health and overall wellbeing.