Walking your dog shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a bonding experience that improves physical health, reduces stress, and builds a sense of community. If you have a yard, you may think that letting your dog roam around and play outside satisfies their activity needs, but evidence shows that this isn’t the case. Dogs need the structure and mental stimulation provided by walks to reduce boredom, emotional outbursts, and disobedient behavior, but these physical and mental improvements aren’t limited to your canine friend.
Below are some of the benefits that both you and your dog will gain from taking those few extra steps every day.
We all know that walking is good for you, but did you know that you can actually walk your way to a longer life? A 2012 study found that people who engage in leisure-time physical activity have an increased life expectancy of as much as 4.5 years. Leisurely walks also lead to additional health benefits including heart disease prevention, reduced blood pressure levels, a lower risk of Type II diabetes, and more. So, why not take a proactive approach to your health and get moving with man’s best friend?
Fortunately, the health benefits of walking are not exclusive to humans. Like people, dogs can carry an excess weight that impacts their quality of life. A recent survey found that 53 percent of dogs in America are overweight. This weight gain often results from overindulging in treats and table scraps, but it also stems from a serious lack of physical activity. Daily walks are a great way to combat the cumulative effects of canine obesity. If you want your dog to live a longer, happier life, put on that leash and head out the door.
Walking is as much of a workout on the mind as it is on the body. Daily walks are shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in humans, as well as emotional and behavioral issues in dogs. In today,s busy world, we don’t often go outside and enjoy our surroundings, but science tells us we should. Repeated studies show that exposure to nature can boost your overall well-being by reducing negative thoughts. Perhaps the best part about walking with your dog is that you’re not alone. Your companion can motivate you to take a break from the stresses of life and enjoy it as it was meant to be – one moment at a time.
Spending time in the great outdoors is especially important for canines who need new and exciting environmental stimulus to keep their minds active and their behavior in check. It’s no secret that dogs use their noses to discover the world around them. In fact, the area of the canine brain designed for analyzing scents is 40 times greater than that of humans, allowing them to identify smells at least 1,000 times better than we can. If dogs lack sensory enrichment, they may be more inclined to misbehave. In other words, let them sniff. Your dog’s sense of adventure can inspire you to enjoy nature’s beauty and you’ll thank them for it.
Dogs are our beloved family members, making it easy for us to forget that they are also animals with instinctual drives. As descendants of wolves, dogs are naturally inclined to seek and join packs; these packs can include dogs of other breeds, animals of other species, and even humans. Conversing with other dog walkers is a great way to socialize yourself and your dog while building a community of pet lovers. In fact, one study involving 800 people over the age of 50 determined that those who walked a dog at least four times per week were more likely to report a strong sense of community than those who didn’t. This may be because people are more inclined to stop and strike up a conversation if there’s something great to talk about. For instance, your adorable furry friends staring up at you.