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The Surprising Benefits of Taking a Stroll with Your Furry Friend

If you are a dog lover, you know that having a canine friend enhances your life in countless ways. February 22nd is National Walking the Dog Day, and it’s a perfect opportunity to celebrate the many health benefits of taking a walk with your four-legged companion. Not only is walking a great way to improve your own physical and mental well-being, but research has also shown that owning a dog can lead to better health and more exercise.



According to a study published in Scientific Reports, dog owners are more likely to meet the recommended physical activity guidelines than non-dog owners. Want more proof that your dog can lead you down the path of better health?

  • Dog owners were found to be 34% more likely to meet the recommended physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week than non-dog owners.
  • Dog owners get an average of 22 more minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day than non-dog owners.
  • Dog ownership is associated with longer life, especially for those individuals who have previously suffered a stroke or heart attack.
  • Dog walking is associated with lower body mass index (BMI), fewer lifestyle limitations and doctor visits, and more frequent vigorous exercise.



Health Benefits of Walking

The health benefits of walking go beyond just meeting physical activity guidelines. Here are a few of the many ways that taking a walk, with or without your furry friend can improve your health:

Improved cardiovascular health: Walking is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, which can help to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Better mental health: Walking in nature, with your dog by your side, can help to reduce stress and improve your mood.

Increased muscle strength and flexibility: Walking is a low-impact form of exercise that can help to improve muscle strength and flexibility, especially in older adults.

Improved balance and coordination: Walking with your dog can help to improve balance and coordination, which can reduce the risk of falls in older adults.

Increased socialization: Walking with your dog can provide an opportunity to socialize with other dog owners, which can be beneficial for both you and your dog.

It's not just dog owners who benefit from this furry fitness motivation - dogs also benefit from regular exercise. Taking your dog for a walk not only provides them with physical exercise, but also mental stimulation and socialization.


Starting a Walking Program: Tips to Help You Get Moving

  1. Set realistic goals: Start by setting small, realistic goals for your walking program. This will help you to stay motivated and see progress over time.
  2. Find a walking partner (a human is fine too!): Walking with a friend or family member can make the experience more enjoyable and provide added motivation to stick with the program.
  3. Invest in comfortable shoes: Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes will help to prevent injuries and make your walks more enjoyable.
  4. Take your dog along: If you own a dog, take them along for the walk. This will provide added motivation and companionship.
  5. Walk in nature: Walking in nature can provide a more enjoyable and relaxing experience than walking in a busy urban environment.
  6. Incorporate a variety of terrains: Mix up your walking routine by incorporating a variety of terrains, such as pavement, gravel, and trails.
  7. Listen to music or a podcast: Listening to music or a podcast can help to make the time fly by and provide an added distraction from the effort of walking.
  8. Keep track of your progress: Use a pedometer or fitness tracker to keep track of your progress and monitor your progress over time.
  9. Make it fun: Walking can be a fun and enjoyable activity if you make it fun. Experiment with different routes and try new things to keep things interesting.
  10. Don't ignore pain: It's impossible to completely avoid injuries. If you do experience pain or discomfort, ask your physical therapist or another medical professional for guidance.



Grab Your Sneakers and Your Leash

So, if you're looking for a workout buddy that will never flake on you, consider your dog! Not only will you be improving your own health, but you'll also be giving your furry friend the gift of a happy and healthy lifestyle. And don't forget, National Dog Walking Day is the perfect excuse to get out there and take a walk with your canine companion.

If you are unable to be as active as you would like, our team is here to help you. Call your nearest MCR Chiropractic clinic or complete the form below to request an appointment. And be sure to bring along some pictures of your dog when you come in for your evaluation!