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Why Dog Walking is Healthy

Dog walking has many health benefits and can be done with your favorite canine.

Depending upon the climate where you live, dog walking is something that you can enjoy throughout the year. Dog walking can be a short activity, or it can be a pastime that you and your furry friend can enjoy for several hours at a time. You get a different experience when walking with your dog, compared to walking alone. Each time you go on a walk with your canine, both you and your dog experience a number of health benefits.

  • Being outside in the fresh air helps your lungs. Breathing fresh air boosts your oxygen levels. The increased oxygen levels can help you to think more clearly and remember things better. Fresh outside air is free of dust particles, mold and other contaminants that are trapped by indoor ventilation systems. Fresh air also cleans your lungs and increases lung volume.

  • Healthy exercise for you. Walking is one of the best exercises for overall health. Our bodies are meant to move. Exercising the major muscle groups is very beneficial. Moving your arms and legs causes your body to add fresh healthy muscle tissue. Walking lowers blood pressure and also strengthens your heart.

  • Improved joint health. Every time you walk, hundreds of joints inside your body are mobilized. Many people already understand that their hips and knees bend with each step that they take. What they often don’t realize is that there are 33 joints inside each foot and dozens of joints that work as part of the spinal column. Each joint should be able to move smoothly, in a coordinated manner with other neighboring joints. Regular walking keeps your body limber.

  • Healthy exercise for your pet. Your dog receives the same health benefits from exercise as you do. Exercise builds up your dog’s skeletal muscles and strengthens your dog’s heart. Walking also helps your dog to maintain a healthy weight.

  • Creates strong emotional bonds between you and your dog. Both you and your dog will develop a lasting bond while having the advantage of experiencing an increase in mood elevating chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine. The attachment between you and your furry friend lasts well after you have finished your walk.

  • Improved mental focus. Walking helps send extra oxygen to the brain by increasing your heart rate. With increased oxygen levels, the brain is able to function more efficiently. This will enable you to focus and process information faster. While walking, the brain is able to engage in problem solving and abstract thinking.

  • Helps prevent depression. The connection with your pet is a great way to reduce depression. Each adventure you and your dog experience (noticing a squirrel, watching a bird take flight, hearing a truck go by, etc.), helps you to share in your dog’s excitement and curiosity of the world around us. In addition, dog walking causes your brain to release endorphins, chemicals that help your mind and body to feel better.

  • Increases stamina. Each time you walk with your pet, your lungs and skeletal muscles become a bit more strengthened. Over the course of weeks and months, you will notice that walking often becomes easier. You and your furry companion will be able to walk for longer distances. This increased stamina will also translate into other areas of your life. You may notice that you can participate in physical activities for more hours during the day, or be able to climb several flights of stairs without becoming winded.

  • Improves your social life. Dog walking gets you out of the house. While on walks, you will sometimes have opportunities to meet other people. Depending upon where you are walking, you will have the chance to meet neighbors, business owners, and bicyclists. Most importantly, you will meet other dog walkers. If you have a sociable pooch, your dog may enjoy making friends and scheduling walks and play-dates with other dogs.

  • Reduces stress for you. Did you have a rough day? Go on a walk with your dog. Forget about your troubles for a little while as you enjoy the fresh air with your pet. Dog walking helps you to unwind physically, mentally, and emotionally.

  • Reduces stress for your pet. Animals can become anxious too. Letting them walk and explore the outdoors helps stimulate their brain much more than when they are at home. Dogs particularly enjoy all the scents they find from other dogs. Dogs gain much more information from their sense of smell than humans. Smells excite and engage them. Being outdoors soothes your pet and helps their frame of mind.

  • Improves communication skills between you and your pet. Both canine and dog walker become more connected during time spent together. You will be able to more easily understand each other’s facial expressions and body language as you continue to go on walks.

  • Improves digestion for you. Walking helps food to travel through your digestive tract more easily. Going on a walk with your four-legged family member after a meal will help your body to process the food that you just ate.

  • Improves digestion for your pet. Walking with you will help activate your dog’s metabolism. Your dog will often have less tummy troubles if taken on frequent walks. The physical activity aids in digestion and helps keep their intestines healthy.

  • Helps you to sleep better at night. Aerobic exercises such as walking are known to increase the length and quality of nighttime sleep. Walking your dog each day can often help you to fall asleep more quickly and for a longer duration before waking.

  • Helps your pet to sleep better at night. Many dogs do not receive adequate amounts of exercise. Going on walks with your pet will help them to feel not as restless in the evenings. Just as young children need activities during the day to be able to enjoy a restful sleep at night, many canines also require daytime stimulation. A dog who receives adequate amounts of exercise and sleep is a much healthier animal.

As dog walker, it is important for you to remain healthy and fit. When you first begin dog walking, you are more prone to sprain strain injuries and sore muscles because this activity is new to you. Chiropractic treatment can help you with your balance, posture, and proprioception, safeguarding you against many of these injuries. Chiropractic treatment is recommended for a healthy, active lifestyle, along with regular exercise.

As you can see, dog walking is an enjoyable and healthy experience for both you and your four legged friend. (Special note: during the course of writing this article, the family dog was walked three times.)

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