A recent study surprisingly revealed that only 50% of the world’s pet parents walk their pets at least once a day. A further 33% stated that they don’t walk their dogs at all! These statistics reveal that most dog parents don’t realize just how beneficial it is to actually walk your pet every day. In fact, there are numerous studies which show that a simple 30-minute walk with your dog everyday can significantly alleviate blood pressure while improving your overall sense of well-being and energy levels. If you’re trying to lose weight, walking with your dog is one way to drop some pounds!
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Health Benefits for Pet Owners
Reduces Blood Pressure
Research shows that daily walks can significantly reduce high blood pressure levels, which in turn lowers your chances of developing associated conditions like strokes and heart disease.
The American Heart Association shows that all you need is a 30-minute walk to fulfill your daily requirement of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. This is enough to improve cardio health and reduce blood pressure levels.
Our sense of balance tends to wane as we grow older. To make matters worse, problems like reduced flexibility, taking certain medications, and other issues can make everything even worse. This means that as we get older, our risk of falling increases as well. When you strengthen your muscles with regular activity like walking with your dog, you are reducing your risk of falling and improving your balance.
Walking has been shown to increase serotonin levels, and this is the hormone responsible for producing “feel-good” chemicals. This is in addition to elevating mood by exposing you to sunshine, fresh air, and the natural elements. Not only that, but studies indicate that walking exercise is the easiest way to boost tryptophan levels in the brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid that aids in the natural generation of serotonin.
Treats Joint and Muscle Pain
If you struggle with aching joints and muscles, then you should try walking to ease the pain. Walking can alleviate muscle aches and pains for people with arthritis and increase muscle flexibility. There are also reports of cartilage and bone strength improvement.
Controls Blood-Sugar Levels
Walking regularly can boost insulin sensitivity, thus reducing blood sugar levels. Even something as simple as low-impact walking can control blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours after the exercise. The best way to reap these benefits is to take frequent walks, and what better way to do so than with your pet?
The American Diabetes Association, as well as the American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderate-intensity exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes per week. This is a similar recommendation to that of the American Heart Association, which recommends moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes per day.
Health Benefits for Dogs
Maintains Your Dog’s Weight
Walking your dog on a regular basis will help it maintain a healthy weight as it gets older. Without regular exercise, pets are more susceptible to obesity. Unfortunately, overweight pets tend to experience health ailments like diabetes, joint and bone issues, and more. You can help your dog avoid all that and prolong its lifespan by taking it on regular walks.
Improves Dog’s Social Skills
Another benefit of walking your dog regularly is that it can help your pooch develop important social skills. The walk will expand its mind and get it excited about life again. That’s because it’ll start seeing other pets, people, cyclists, and cars — the tapestry of life.
Minimizes Destructive Behavior
If you’re dealing with a problematic dog that likes to engage in destructive behavior, then you should start taking it out for walks to help reduce the destruction. This goes for any dog that often is whining, chewing, howling, and barking. Most of these behaviors are caused by boredom, and something as simple as taking your pet for a walk can help to eliminate this issue.
Keeps It Agile
Another reason why you should walk your dog regularly is that it can help you keep your dog limber and very agile over time. A dog that lays on the couch or sits around lazily all day is most likely to experience muscle atrophy and weakness, while walking regularly will help it maintain agility, flexibility, and strength. Of course, it’s harder to start walking your dog when it’s older. But one way to get around this problem is to start with short distances and increase them as you go along.
Treats Digestive and Urinary Health
Walking regularly can also help to balance the digestive tract. A lot of dogs, like humans, prefer to maintain a regimented schedule for going to the bathroom. Bladder infections often occur as a result of urine staying in the bladder for long periods of time. That’s why it’s important to regularly empty your pet’s bladder to prevent this.
All told, walking can help your dog live longer and stay healthier. However, your dog also needs to visit the vet regularly and get its shots as needed in order to live a long and truly healthy life. If your dog looks depressed or unhealthy, then it might be time to break out the old trainers and take Fido for a walk around the block.
Just as you wouldn’t start a serious exercise regime without getting the all-clear from your doctor, you should consult with your pet’s vet before you get your dog on a vigorous walking regimen.
Moderate to vigorous exercise at least 60 minutes a day is recommended for kids and teens aged 5 to 17 years old, whereas adults aged 18 to 65 should get at least 30 minutes of the same intensity exercise 5 days a week. Strengthening exercises become more important as we age, and seniors aged 65 and above are advised to engage in moderate exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes for 5 days a week as well. This helps to increase balance and flexibility. The good news is that taking your dog on daily walks will help you easily fulfill these requirements!
We all know how difficult it can be to commit to a walking schedule or exercise regime with your pet. It all starts with a single step and a little bit of planning, so get out there and start walking!
As long as you prioritize walking with your pet, you can start small with 10 minutes per day and increase the timeframe slowly over time until you reach a point where you don’t even look at the time anymore because both you and your pet are having the time of your lives and you’re in the groove of things.
Don’t forget to bring some The Original Poop Bags® with you on your walk to keep your neighborhood clean. Consider using a PoopChute to keep bags handy as you’re leaving your home!