I Took Morning Walks for a Month and They’ve Changed My Relationship to Coffee and My Work

Photo: Getty Images/ Arman Zhenikeyev
I am not a morning person—that is fairly clear to anyone close to me. In fact, I've never been a morning person. Even before I was old enough to drink coffee, my family knew to give me a wide berth in the morning. It's just not my time to shine, TBH. So, when I volunteered to take morning walks every day for a week, I was not optimistic about the challenge. I figured that I would grouchily take a few strolls around my block, and that would be that. What I found, though, is that a few days of walking in the morning became a week, which led into the next week, and, before I knew it, I was walking every morning.

Granted, walking in the morning does have a big motivator: coffee, baby! As a midwest transplant living in the big city, I indulge in the east coast pastime of trudging with my roommate to our nearby DD for a humongous coffee. Do I make sure to patronize the local coffee shops with locally roasted coffee in my community as well?

While caffeine was my main motivator for getting out of bed when I took on this assignment, it quickly took a backseat to other benefits that turned out to be the truly best part of waking up and I’ve kept up the practice (almost daily) for over a month now. So without further ado, here are some ways walking in the morning changed my day, my mindset, and how I work.

I can come to my to-do list with fresh eyes

Since I live in Brooklyn, my home office is in my bedroom. I love my little corner of the universe, but it is, admittedly, a little *cozy* sometimes. I am grateful every day that my commute is about three steps from my bed. However, this isn't really that conducive to revving my engine for the day. Getting out and walking, sweating a little, and chatting about nothing and everything with my roommate is the perfect way to shake the cobwebs of sleep out of my brain and get my gears turning.

I feel discombobulated without it

On rainy days, or days when I already have cold brew in the fridge and don’t need to go get coffee—my roommate and I skip our walk. Since I'd made it through my initial week's experiment, it’s not messing with this assignment; however, skipping my morning walks does mess with me. Without that movement, the amount of buzz I get from caffeine now feels uncomfortable and pent up.

Plus, the slow amble around the neighborhood, squinting in the sun, wearing an outfit that can only be described as pajama-chic, was really loosening me up and giving me a dose of something that made the rest of my day a whole lot better.

It makes moving throughout the day easier

Morning walks seem to lubricate my desire for movement as a whole. I find that on days that I walk, I also feel like doing a little bit of yoga or stretching during the day or lifting some of my Bala weights to an at-home workout video. It feels like an object in motion stays in motion really applies to my brain.

It changed my relationship with caffeine

I have always unabashedly loved caffeine. I'm a writer; it's what we do. Walking in the mornings gives me a lot to think about when it comes to coffee and my dependence on it. I realized that if walking was really what was making me better—sometimes opting for decaf feels like the right choice. This is especially true on weekends. A leisurely weekend stroll to a cafe for a decaf latte is one of my favorite things now because I can enjoy a walk, fresh air, delicious coffee, and a nap later on.

Breaking up a routine is really hard—especially when it's something you hold near and dear to you, like a morning routine or coffee ritual. At first, it felt like I was giving up something, but I ended up gaining a whole lot more in the end.

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