As soon as you say the word “walk” your dog probably starts dancing in place, eager for the leash to be clipped on so you can both go outside. Your enthusiasm, on the other hand, might be a little less exuberant. Pausing work to walk the dog can feel like a chore, which leads to you rushing through the task and cutting the activity as short as possible.
Instead of rushing through your daily dog walk, take the time to enjoy a relaxing stroll with your best friend. You might be surprised to learn that daily walks with your dog have tremendous health benefits not only for your pup but for you as well.
- Meet physical activity guidelines
According to a study published in Scientific Reports, people who own a dog are more likely to meet physical activity guidelines. Your pup helps ensure you’re meeting the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week and, in most cases, exceed that number. On average, people who own a dog get about 200 more minutes of walking each week than non-dog owners. By walking together daily, you and your dog benefit from exercise that’ll keep your bodies happy and healthy.
- Improves cardiovascular health
Regularly walking outside each day is really good for your heart. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day to help reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Most dog owners spend this amount of time strolling around the block with their pup if not daily then at least several times a week.
- Boosts happiness
A simple walk is a powerful mood booster. As you walk along the trail with your dog, your body releases endorphins that make you feel good. It’s also difficult to be in a bad mood when your pup is grinning from ear to ear sniffing every tuft of grass and fire hydrant.
- Reduces stress
Walking around outside gives you an opportunity to forget about your worries for a little while. Use this time to focus on your pup and your surroundings instead of any negative thoughts. A walk is also a perfect time to indulge in playtime with your dog, so don’t hold back when it comes to playing fetch.
- Stronger muscles and bones
Daily walks are a great way to strengthen muscles and bones. Walking is a weight-bearing exercise and it requires your body to work a lot harder than if you were sitting. Your body is strengthened from this regular activity and so is your dog’s. Muscle and bone health are particularly important as you and your pup age, so make sure you don’t neglect this healthy activity.
These are five big health benefits to walking your dog, but this daily interaction with your best friend does so much more. By spending time with your dog, you’re creating a lasting bond and establishing your leadership in the relationship. Stop missing on this important one-on-one time with your pup and start taking advantage of the health benefits that come with daily walks.