It is no secret that owning a pet is a wonderful thing. For years we have cuddled them, played with them, and lavished them with gifts, but one thing that some dog owners struggle with is the daily walking, especially out in the Great British weather. On top of your 9-5 office job and 45-minute commute, it is no surprise that a lot of people struggle finding the time to take their pooch for a decent walk, however, when you start to look into the benefits of dog walking, you may be surprised at what an incredible impact it can have on your health. By taking your pup out for “30 minutes of moderately intensive aerobic activity” a day (i.e. a decent paced walk), you can provide yourself and your dog with an abundance of physical and mental health benefits.
Owning a dog and combining your obligation to maintain its health with a desire to improve your own can help ease the most difficult aspect of a personal fitness regime: starting it. It’s a lot harder to say no to your daily dose of exercise when you’ve got an excited and expectant tail-wagger urging you to put on your walking boots and embrace the morning stroll. Our dog walkers all love the fact that they have escaped the confines of an office to enjoy the company of our fantastic four-legged friends – all whilst getting paid to walk their way into a healthier body and mind!
One of the primary effects of a daily dog walk to your body is a reduction in high blood pressure. By maintaining a speed which makes your heart beat a little faster than usual, you will dramatically improve your cardiovascular health, thus reducing blood pressure and some of the commonly associated risks. These negative symptoms can take years to materialise and range from slight chest pain and trouble sleeping to the more serious long-term symptoms of possible heart attacks, aneurysms and heart failure. Many of us aren’t aware of the current state of our blood pressure, but even just a slight increase to your amount of cardiovascular fitness can make a huge difference, and walking your dog is the perfect excuse to get active and fight this common health issue right away.
Multiple academic studies have also shown that on average, dog owners have a lower Body-Mass Index (BMI) than their non-dog owning counterparts. This is mainly down to walking and the brilliant impact it can have in increasing your metabolism and burning calories. Whilst a relaxed 30-minute stroll helps to reduce blood pressure, a brisker 60 minute walk every now and again can really start to amplify the health benefits of walking and show visible improvements around the waistline. If you have a young and persistently active pup bouncing at your heels all the time, tiring them out on a long and pacey walk could be the answer you’re both looking for as you can lose weight whilst reaping the rewards of a few calm hours from your fatigued friend. Not to mention the proven effects low-intensity exercise has in lowering your LDL or “bad” cholesterol and raising your HDL or “good” cholesterol – which equates to a much lower chance of heart disease.
Not only can regular walking make you look and feel better, it also massively helps to reduce muscle and joint pain, particularly arthritis, which approximately 9 million people of all ages suffer from in the UK alone. By committing to regular walkies, you will lose weight which reduces the stress on your joints and muscles. Simultaneously, by walking every day you will also build up strength in the muscles surrounding your joints, protecting them from potential damage and making those niggly aches and pains a thing of the past. I know it is tempting to take your pet on a short and easy walk so as not to exasperate the pain of your already stiff knees and legs, but low-stress exercise such as walking has been proven to actually help your bones recover and in the long run reduce stiffness and swelling. Increased flexibility and decreased fatigue are both direct consequences of a simple walk round the park for both you and your dog, so instead of sitting on the couch with your feet up, get them moving and treat your pup to a daily adventure and feel better yourself as a result!
It may seem obvious that walking every day will have numerous physical benefits for you and your dog’s bodies, but what many people overlook is the positive impact a simple walk can have on your mental health. If you’re reading this, you are probably a dog-lover, and to dog-lover’s there is nothing better than seeing the wagging tail and excited grin of your furry friend. It is thought, however, that the bond between humans and animals and the unconditional love we get from them can actually release endorphins and vastly reduce stress. Coupled with the stress-busting effects of physical activity and the peaceful surroundings of nature, a walk with your pooch can be a great way to cope with the pressures of everyday life. By clearing your brain of the day’s tensions and strains, smiling and saying hello to passers-by, and building a stronger connection with your beloved pet, many people come back from a walk in a better and more relaxed mood. In a world that is becoming increasingly fast-paced and high-pressured, take an hour to slow down and get away from it all, breathe in the fresh-air and watch not only your dog get happier, but yourself too!
A walk a day can have a multitude of positive effects to your mental and physical health, it’s just keeping to a routine that a lot of people find difficult. So imagine if you could do this every day and be paid for your time without the burden of team meetings, presentations, and quarterly reviews hanging over your head. Many of our dog walking franchisees have joined us for this exact reason and they love every minute of it. If you also are looking for that change of career that brings a fantastic lifestyle along with it, you can find out more at https://www.digsfordogs.uk/franchise/dog-walking/
by Leo Bownas