The habit of taking morning walks began when I lived in Manhattan Beach, just south of LAX in Los Angeles. Rising at 5AM to the sound of the surf, I would stroll along the boardwalk at the quietest time of the day as the sun would rise from the east. I discovered that it was not only a refreshing walk to start the day but a great time to think about the day ahead.
Later in life, I discovered something similar when I would walk home from the subway station in Tokyo after work. The ten-minute walk and the fresh air seemed to generate some great ideas and clear my mind of clutter. I would arrive home with significantly less stress. John Medina in his book, "Brain Rules" talks in rule #1 about the importance of exercise and oxygen to the brain.
Here in my current neighborhood of Aobadai in Tokyo, I am fortunate to be close to a tree-lined river walk along the Meguro River. I continue to rise between 4:30 and 5:00 each morning (thanks in part to the cats) and head out with my camera for a 30-40 minute along the river or wherever my shoes take me.
I am also fortunate to live within walking distance of the offices of United in Tokyo where I have an office. Instead of crowded subway trains and train stations, I have a pleasant 20-minute walk through neighboring Daikanyama to and from the office.
On most Sundays, I accompany my wife to her hometown in neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture, where she works on Sundays. While she is working, I will often take walks around this small town and its rural surroundings. It is a welcomed break from the lifestyle of Tokyo and I enjoy the unreserved nature of the local community.