My alarm goes off at 2:20a. Most people cringe, or worse, when they hear that. My wife, Ava, was recently asked what’s the most annoying thing about me. She said it’s the way I wake up. One minute I’m asleep…the next I’m walking out the bedroom door. To make it even more annoying…I start my day with a high intensity cardio workout. That happens within moments of waking up.
I love mornings. When I was 14 years old I decided I wanted to be a morning DJ. I landed my first morning radio job within five years. Decades later I’m still there.
I also like getting many of my 20,000 daily steps in the morning. I just finished Week 28 of this 20k One Year Step Challenge. I tried to get as many of those steps before lunchtime. During the week, I’m limited by my job, but not on the weekends. I often reach 20k before noon.
If you’re a night owl, like Ava, you may find this annoying too. But, here are six reasons why morning steps rock!
I really got to live this on Monday. We had just turned the clocks forward. I couldn’t fall asleep Sunday night. The longer I lay awake, the more aware I was of how early I had to get up. I started obsessing about how I needed to fall asleep NOW. But, of course, I didn’t. I only slept about three hours.
When my alarm went off I thought about staying in bed, but decided not to. I got up, and started moving. That got my blood flowing and me going. By the time I left the house I felt as energized as I typically do.
Morning steps are better than coffee. I’m not making a scientific statement, just a personal belief. I love coffee, but moving intentionally first thing in the morning gives me more energy.
I think better when I’m moving. I focus better when I’m moving. I plan better when I’m moving. These are great benefits that are helpful anytime, but especially in the morning.
One of the nice things about my work schedule is I arrive at the radio station before my colleagues. That gives me freedom to walk around and not be an annoyance to everyone. I use that time to warm up my voice for the show. I also use that time to think about the day ahead.
Every morning I’m able to focus on some of the challenges I know I’ll be facing that day and possible solutions. I’m also able to think creatively in a way that just doesn’t happen for me when I’m sitting.
Just this past week these morning steps helped me find a creative idea for a project I’m responsible for. I’m excited about implementing this and watching what happens. Walking in the morning is the best way for me to prepare and plan for the day ahead.
When Ava was diagnosed with cancer last fall I discovered how important it was for me to keep moving. Walking helped me manage the anxiety that came with watching my wife face this battle. Moving calmed me while sitting resulted in more anxiety.
Every day has its own built in stress. For me, one of the most effective ways to prepare is to walk, think, and pray every morning. It helps me start the day with a lower level of stress.
Begin the Day With a Feeling of Accomplishment
My goal every day is to get at least 20,000 steps. It would be amazing if I got all those before I left the house each morning. I’m not even close. But, starting the day with a nice foundation for reaching my goal does give me a feeling of accomplishment.
And, that leads to a higher level of confidence. I’ve learned how to take a “not so easy” daily goal and find ways to make it happen. That’s not an small thing. Making time each morning to move (literally and figuratively) towards this big goal has been a confidence changer.
Looking for ways to get as many steps as I can in the morning makes the rest of my day much easier. It takes a lot of time to put 20,000 on my Fitbit. If I had to do all of that at the end of the day I would have failed this 20k One Year Step Challenge a long time ago. I don’t want to spend the last three hours of my day walking.
I also want, and need, the flexibility to handle the unexpected without having to worry about “getting my steps”. In other words, if something comes up later in the day that requires my attention and presence, I don’t want to be worried about whether or not I can reach my goal.
Walking as much as I can each morning gives me this flexibility.
There’s something about the morning sun that makes me happy. I love watching the sunrise. The radio station is on a hill overlooking the Baltimore skyline and the view is spectacular.
But, weekend and vacation mornings are even more special. This is when I feel jealous for those who start work later than me and can enjoy a long morning walk as the sun is coming up any day of the week. The sunlight coming from the East, casting those long morning shadows, is special. Add in the soundtrack of nature and the aroma of coffee and bacon and I could walk for hours at the start of each day.
The beauty of a sunlit morning is special. I can’t fathom sleeping through it.
But, that’s exactly what my wife does every chance she gets. Ava is not a fan. She doesn’t see the early morning hours as golden nuggets filled with many opportunities. She sees only one. More sleep. If you’re like Ava, there’s no way I can convince you that morning steps are best. You’re simply not buying it.
But, if you enjoy the morning, I would encourage you to grab the opportunities to move more and sit less as you start your day. It might actually change your life. I’ve put together a guide to finding 10-minute opportunities throughout your day to add an extra 1,000 steps to what you’re already getting. Many of these opportunities are in the morning. It’s free and my gift to you.
If you are on a journey towards fitness, but at times you feel the struggle Goal: 20,000 Steps can help. These articles are designed to inspire and guide you to Win at Fitness. Click FOLLOW (below on your phone…to the right and above on your computer) you’ll get each article the moment it is published.
You Can Win at Fitness and we’ll help you get there One Step at a Time.
Thank you, Dave! After months of hearing about your blog, I finally checked it out a couple of weeks ago. I believe I’ve now read all your posts here. Inspirational, wise, fun and funny, and very genuine – the same person I hear and appreciate on the morning show is right here in your blog as well. I am a morning person as well (though I sleep in until 5:00 each day), so today’s post very much rang true for me. I’ve started my own winning streak, baby steps as you recommend, and am grateful for the time and thought and heart that you put into these posts. You are a blessing.
Thank you Kevin!
I enjoy your posts and have read many of them, but after viewing them, I dont see how u have explained how your getting 20k steps each day, especially alot in the morning? You mention getting your steps in, but not how your doing it. Are u running on the treadmill? I’m just curious. I walked around Hershey Park all day last summer and only got 13K steps. May I ask your method of getting 20K every day? Thanks Tammy
Hi Tammy! You’re right…I have not written in detail how I get my 20,000 steps. A couple reasons for that. First…it’s different each day. Second, and more importantly, the details of my life are different from yours and every other reader. I might have opportunities to walk that you don’t, but, you likely have opportunities throughout your day to move that I don’t have. Because of that I’m more focused on helping readers understand they do have opportunities to move throughout their day that they may not be aware of. All it takes is awareness, intentionality, and a commitment to move more. That said…one day I will posts a “Day in the Life” piece that shows how I got my steps that day. Thanks for reading!
Dave – you truly are a blessing! Started reading your blog about six weeks ago — with no knowledge of your being on 95.1, which i listen to — and have been absolutely inspired to begin my “walk!” Thank you so much!
Thank you Kim!