Exercise and health sometimes feel like just another box to check off our busy schedules, another duty to maintain. If only we could run and play and enjoy life as our dogs do.
News alert: we can!
There’s nothing like keeping your exercise routine enjoyable on a daily basis like walking a dog. You will discover new routes, new friends, and new adventures. If you see life through a dog’s eyes, you will rediscover the wonders of every new day.
Medical studies actually show that dog owners live longer and are more active. So what are you waiting for?
1. Walking a Dog is Fun!
You may get tired of jogging the same old route every morning, but your dog will not. Every morning brings new smells, new sights, and fresh possibilities.
Sure, a puppy may present some challenges to walking on a leash, but once he is trained, you will have a jogging partner and companion who will keep you motivated and amused.
2. Great Cardio Training
You can work up a sweat while walking a dog. Your canine friend needs exercise too, so she will be happy to accompany you to release some of her energy by powerwalking or even sprinting on occasion.
By elevating your heartbeat for a sustained twenty minutes or more a day, you will get aerobic benefits. That means you will have better cardiac health, longer endurance, and you will lose weight too.
You can incorporate games into your workout as well. Bring a frisbee on your walks and let your dog chase it. You will barely notice how hard you are working out because of all the fun you are having!
If you like to work out early in the morning or late at night, you can put yourself in a vulnerable position. Running alone exposes you to danger when you are running down empty streets in deserted areas, often without a cell phone.
A dog provides perfect protection. Dogs are naturally protective of their masters, and many pets will bark at strangers they perceive to be threats (whether they are right or not!). The mere presence of a large dog is often enough to deter unwanted attention.
4. No Excuses
Dogs have to go outside to go to the bathroom. You have to take them for walks anyway, so why not multitask by getting your exercise hour in at the same time?
Even if it is raining out or you are tired, one look at those puppy eyes will get you in your sneakers and out the door. You can’t have any excuses when your dog needs to go out, and you can use this to your own health advantage.
5. Social Interaction
Dog owners bond naturally. When you are out and about, you will notice other dog owners in your neighborhood who you may never have met had you both not had dogs. By walking your pet, you will meet all sorts of people, many who will have at least a few common interests with you.
Everyone knows that cute dogs are “magnets” for the opposite sex. If you are single, dog walking is a great way to meet potential mates! You can work on your fitness and your social life at the same time.
6. Get Out of Your Head!
It’s really easy to get caught up in memories of the past or predictions of the future. You may wake up worrying about work, finances or your kids. Too much worry can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.
Exercise is a great balm for these conditions. Adding a dog to the mix makes you feel even better. Besides their unconditional love, dogs give you the opportunity to get outside and walk, boosting your endorphins and your mood.
7. Stop and Smell the Roses
Dogs live in the moment and will seize any opportunity to explore, sniff and play. We could all use a dose of that kind of spontaneity and curiosity.
By walking a dog regularly, you start to realize the joys in every day and appreciate what is around you. Like meditation, walking a dog centers you in the moment and shows you the simple pleasures of being alive.
8. Never the Same
No day is ever the same with your pup. If you are bored with the same fitness routine, try something new with your dog. Like people, dogs like to try new things and check out new places.
Keeping it fresh is another benefit to dog walking that makes it one of the healthiest pastimes, both physically and mentally.
9. Trying Biking Too
Some dogs can be trained to run alongside your bicycle. Large strong dogs like retrievers and hounds will bound alongside you, keeping pace.
Teaching your pet to run alongside a bike takes practice. Use food to encourage and reward him, and start out slowly so he learns appropriate behavior. If your dog is small and less vigorous, you can always pop her into a basket to go along for the ride (like Toto!).
Dogs with lots of energy can inspire you to try new, more challenging forms of exercise. They will surely give you a run for your money!
10. Rover Stays Healthy Too
When you walk your dog, you are not the only one who benefits. Rover gets much-needed exercise, fresh air, stimulation and social time.
Spending time with your dog, like any relationship, brings closeness and trust. This makes both of you happier and healthier.
Like you, your dog will reap health benefits such as improved cardiovascular conditioning, stronger muscles, and lower weight. Because you want to enjoy a long friendship, your dog’s health is important to yours as well.
Walking a Dog: Makes You Both Happier and Healthier
Whether you are training for a marathon or gently ambling along a park path, walking a dog is a great way for you two to bond, exercise and get outdoors. People of all ages and dogs of all breeds can enjoy this simple and timeless pastime for demonstrable health benefits and a lot of joy.
For more information on staying fit and enjoying life, check out our blog.