4 Health Benefits of Dog Walking – Go the Extra Mile
Take a look at the various health benefits of dog walking – from improving your balance and coordination to lowering blood pressure, strengthening muscles, and a lot more.
Being the energetic creatures they are, dogs require plenty of physical stimulation every day. Walking them daily can be an excellent way to fulfill their need. However, most pet owners consider dog walking just to be a personal reflection of their love for Fido. You might take your pooch out for a stroll every now and then because it makes them happy. While that surely is a noble intention, it’s interesting to note that in addition to improving your pet’s wellbeing, there are many health benefits of dog walking for you as well!
Walking your dog gives you a chance to socialize with the people in your neighborhood. It also lets you connect with other pup parents you might meet on the go. Not only does this helps improve mood and reduce stress, but it also promotes positive feelings. However, that’s not all.
In addition to enhancing your mental wellbeing, dog walking provides many physical health benefits as well. Read on to see what they are.
1. Increases Physical Fitness
Most of us are already well aware of the benefits of regularly walking or exercising in general. But you might have trouble sticking to a plan. Or maybe you find it hard or just plain boring to go to the gym every day. If that’s the main hurdle you face in staying fit, your furry friend can help you overcome the challenge in no time.
Dogs can become your fitness coach and physical trainer at the same time. Once they know that going out for a walk is an option, they wouldn’t allow you to skip a day, rain or shine. Prepare to literally get dragged to the door by your dog if they so much as suspect that you aren’t in the mood to go walking on any given day.
Dogs who establish the routine of walking get so excited that owners often have to be cautious of using the word altogether, lest their furry pal demands to take a stroll at odd hours.
2. Improves Sleep Cycle
Does your dog peacefully zone out as soon as they come home after enjoying a long stretch outdoors? That’s because walking, despite being a relatively low-impact activity, can be quite tiring. You probably won’t feel compelled to take a nap after walking your dog, but you will notice an improvement in your sleep cycle over time.
Studies have shown that the more time people spend walking during the day, the better they sleep at night.
Good quality night sleep is an important requirement for everyone who wishes to live a happy and healthy life. It reduces stress levels and lowers the risk of various age-related health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
Moreover, when you sleep better, you are less likely to experience headaches, muscle stiffness, and the morning grogginess that many adults usually struggle with every day.
If you have insomnia, walking your pooch an extra block or two in the evening can be an effective way to cure it. Make sure to keep the session at least 30 minutes long and do it a minimum of 3 hours before your bedtime. Walking actually refreshes your mind just after the activity. So it’s better to avoid walking Fido at night and do it during the daytime instead.
3. Boosts Heart Health
Heart diseases have become one of the leading causes of death for both men and women all across the world. In the US alone, more than half a million people die each year due to a coronary problem. That’s almost 1 in every 4 deaths in the country!
If that isn’t terrifying enough, research also suggests that people have an over 70% risk of stroke by the time they become 45 years old. The good news is that regular exercise can help you steer clear of heart diseases as you age.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults should get at least 75 minutes of high-intensity physical activity or 150 minutes of light aerobic workout every week. That equals only around 10 minutes of running or 20 minutes of walking every day. This is quite an easy milestone to reach. And when you have your pooch by your side, it becomes even easier!
Walking improves the blood flow in your body. This helps regulate blood pressure by opening up the arteries and veins. In other words, walking can not only lower high blood pressure but reduce high cholesterol levels as well. It can also lower the risk of stroke and similar cardiovascular diseases such as angina by a significant margin.
4. Strengthens Bones and Muscles
Walking can tone your muscles. But did you know that it can also strengthen your bones?
It’s only a myth when they say that bones stop developing after adolescence. Just like muscles, your bones are also a form of living tissue, which means that they will respond to exercise no matter what your age might be.
This is the reason why many old-age homes have dogs to encourage seniors to walk. Dogs play an important role in helping them maintain healthy muscle and bones and reduce their risk of developing conditions like arthritis and muscle atrophying.
Some Important Things to Remember
After reading all these health benefits of dog walking, you might be tempted to walk with your pet all the way up to the biggest hill. But first, think about your furry friend’s stamina. How far a dog can walk comfortably primarily depends on their size, age, and breed. A long-legged lab might only be getting started after a 20-minute walk, whereas a squat Chihuahua might be done for the day. Additionally, consider your dog’s overall health and daily activities to determine the optimal time for your walks.
You should also bring along a water bottle, some treats, and a food bowl for your pet. Otherwise, they can feel dehydrated and weak or get fussy due to hunger.
Lastly, remember to check the ground temperature with your bare foot or hand before going out for a walk. Pavements can get really hot during the daytime. If you cannot keep your hand or foot on the sidewalk for at least 15 seconds, it’s too hot for your pooch to walk on. You can dog booties to protect your fur friend’s paws on your excursions.
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