A Dog Walk a Day Can Keep the Doctor Away
By Carly Bach, DPT
Been on a dog walk lately? Well, you may want to consider adding a visit with Fido to your daily routine. Studies are showing that interactions with animals and pets can have great benefits for your health and the effects can impact everyone from small children to the elderly.
Here are some of the ways that pets can help improve our lives (aside from being really cute and cuddly).
A Dog Walk Can Keep you Active
Dog owners are much more likely to participate in higher levels of physical activity. A 2006 study showed that while the average person walks about 170 minutes per week, a dog owner walks over 300 minutes. This extra activity can really have a great impact on your health, leading to decreased blood pressure and improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Pets really know how to keep your heart happy in more ways than one!
Improve Your Social Life
People don’t call them “man’s best friend” for nothing! Pets obviously offer a great form of companionship, but they can also help lead to improvements in your interpersonal relationships as well. Walking a dog around the community offers a great opportunity for interaction with your neighbors and other dog-walkers. Join a group, set a schedule, and walk your pets together! It will be more fun for you and your dog will love it. (Hey, dogs like to make friends too!)
Reduce Stress Levels
Feeling extra stressed today? Give your pup a scratch behind his ear. Being around a pet can help reduce anxiety levels, decrease blood pressure, and increase some of the chemicals that lead to feelings of happiness and calm (serotonin and dopamine). No wonder you can’t help but smile at a happy dog wagging his tail at you. They’re excited to see you too!
Dogs Can Actually Prevent Allergies
Can’t stop sneezing around Fluffy? In 2004, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported that exposing your kids to cats and dogs in the home actually lowers their chances of developing pet allergies by up to 33% and it also helps them develop stronger immune systems.
This one is a no-brainer. So, grab a leash and your favorite pet, and hit the trail! Or, join some friends and their dogs if you don’t have one of your own. Don’t forget to prepare for dog walking with stretching before and after, wear proper footwear, and make sure that you and your pup drink plenty of water.