I Think I'll Get A Dog
A few years ago, I (Lyn) wanted a dog. Figured walking the dog twice a day would help me exercise. And with a Great Dane? Boy howdy! In this article, Julie explains the...
Physical Health Benefits of Owning a Dog
Regular physical activity is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, and pets, especially dogs, provide a great incentive to stay active.
Dog owners are more likely to engage in regular exercise routines, due to the demands of walking, playing, and simply spending time outside doors with their furry friend. According to the American Heart Association, dog owners are more likely to be physically active and have a lower risk of heart disease.
The physical activities we can share with our canine companions, not only promote the dogs' healthy lifestyle, but also provide numerous health benefits for us. Let’s look at some examples of activities that you can share with your dog
Many breeds of dogs are natural runners, and they love nothing more than a fast walk, or a brisk jog alongside their human companions.
Exploring nature with your dog by your side, can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Hiking trails offer a variety of terrains and challenges that can engage both you and your pet. From forest trails to mountain paths, hiking not only builds strength in your leg muscles, but also provides stress relief as you soak in the beauty of the surrounding nature. Some smaller breeds of dogs may prefer to be transported - so you get the extra benefit of carrying the weight of your dog in your pack!
And if you live in a place with snowy winters, there is no better way to enjoy winter than snowshoeing with your dog. Dogs may not be able to have their very own snowshoes, but their feet are usually well-suited to winter conditions. Snowshoeing, with its slow pace through winter landscapes, is a perfect activity to share with your dog. Remember to protect your dog from the cold, with jackets and boots as appropriate for their breed and the outdoor conditions.
Some breeds of dogs are natural swimmers, and taking a dip in a dog-friendly beach can provide a great full body workout for you and your dog. Playing with them in the shallow water can be a fun way to be active as well. Have you ever considered paddle boarding with your dog? Of course this is primarily exercise for you, but if making your pet happy motivates you to exercise, well, then go ahead and do it with your canine friend.
Some classic games like fetch in frisbee not only entertain your dog, but can also keep you moving the quickest sprints to retrieve them all or the frisbee can get your heart rate up and enhance your agility. These are great games for outdoor spaces like parks where you can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine shine with your pet.
As you engage in physical activities with your dog, it’s important to ensure their safety and comfort, as well as your own. Be mindful of your dog's breed, age and fitness level when choosing activities. Always carry water treats and any necessary equipment, such as leashes or harnesses to make sure a safe and enjoyable experience is had by all. If you have any questions regarding the safety, or advisability of a particular physical activity for your canine, please make sure you check in with your vet, just as you should check in with your physician to make sure you’re choosing appropriate activities for yourself as well.
Physical activity is known to improve your cardiovascular health, leading to enhanced weight management, and reduced risk of obesity. Ultimately, the shared physical activity between you and your dog are more than just exercises; there is a real opportunity for bonding through a healthier lifestyle for both of you. So whether you’re running, hiking, swimming, or simply playing fetch, these moments of companionship and accountability are good habits for life.
In part two of this post we’ll explore the mental health benefits that come with pet ownership. (The various pictures are from friends and pexels.com and are used by permission.)