We all know the importance of taking the dog out for regular walks. However, dog walking isn’t just beneficial for your pup, there are lots of ways dog walking can positively impact the life of the owner too.
First off, it’s a great form of exercise that doesn’t actually feel like exercise! A review of 29 studies over a twenty-year period found that dog owners walked a median amount of 160 minutes a week. Embedding a dog walk into your daily routine means that exercise becomes a habit. It is also a good way to hold yourself accountable, as your dog is relying on you, similarly to if you arrange to work out with a friend!
Dog walking encourages you to get outside and appreciate nature, as lockdown has shown us how easy it is for the day to pass without getting out the house! You can think of your dog walk as a time to switch off. There are so many benefits from meditating, but it can be extremely difficult to do. However, there is the practice of walking meditation which involves focusing your attention on the action of walking, think of it as more of mindful walking than meditation as such.
A lunch time dog walk can be a great way to break up the workday. A Stanford University study found that walking increased creative output by an average of 60 percent, as it encourages ‘divergent thinking.’ It is said to open the free flow of ideas, which helps with problem solving. There is also the social aspect to dog walking, it is a great way to bond with your pet and you are likely to meet other dog walkers on your route!
You can enhance the health benefits of your dog walk by increasing the pace to get your heart rate up. Investing in a step tracker or heart rate monitor can be a helpful tool in motivating yourself to walk a little bit extra, especially if you set yourself step goals. Your pup will love this too as it means extra long walks for them. You can also increase your physical output by changing up your route, so you are exerting more energy, for example by walking up hill or on rough terrain. If you are more into running and short on time then swap your dog walk for a dog jog, they make great running buddies. Either way it’s a great chance to get outside and spend some quality time with your pet.