Using coffee as a crutch to soldier through a hectic morning has become a way of life for me. So when my sister told me she fuels her mornings with a power walk instead of a caffeine boost, I was curious to see if I could do the same—and if it would have the same energizing effect on me. (If morning java is a must for you, try these 6 new ways to flavor your coffee without added sugar.)
I live in New York City, so I walk everyday to and from the subway, but I don't normally walk first thing in the morning after my alarm goes off. I wanted to see if I could increase my daily activity and decrease my caffeine intake in the process. While I love the taste of coffee, it gives me the jitters when I drink too much, especially in the morning on an empty stomach. Since I already enjoy long walks on the weekends and on my lunch breaks, I figured adding one to my mornings would be a simple swap. My goal wasn't to cut out coffee completely, but rather to boost my energy more naturally.
The following Monday, I set out on a weeklong experiment to see if I could replace my morning java with a mindful walk. I chose Monday because research shows that it’s the best day to tackle a new routine (and follow through with it the rest of the week). Each day, I would wake up at 7 AM, get dressed right away, and head outside for about 30 minutes of nature and physical activity.
Or maybe ditch your walk, run, or coffee, and go weed your garden:
Despite my determination, this challenge turned out to be much more difficult than I thought it would be. Here's what I learned when I put down my coffee mug and put on my walking shoes: