THE BENEFITS OF WALKING YOUR DOG FOR FITNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH

May 30, 2024 5:50:53 AM

May is not only National Walking Month, but it also has a dedicated week for Mental Health Awareness commencing the 10th.

Owning a dog has many benefits that impact both your physical and mental health. Here at Trophy, we will explore these.

THE BENEFITS OF WALKING YOUR DOG

If you own a dog, you will understand that they require regular exercise. The amount depends on the breed and size of dog, but they need this to keep them physically fit, to help prevent obesity and to mentally stimulate them.

What we often do not consider is the benefits regular walking has on our own bodies.

Daily, brisk walking can help with the following;

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness & circulation
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve your balance and coordination
  • Strengthen immune system
  • Improve your mood, cognition, memory and sleep
  • Reduce stress and tension

 

The more frequently and farther you walk, the greater the benefits!

Always remember to ensure that your dog has an identification tag, you have plenty of poop bags and that your dog is always under control. Also avoid walking during hot weather as this can cause problems for both you and your dog.

BENEFITS OF DOG OWNERSHIP FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

There is a psychological reason why so many dogs become service animals for veterans and people living with PTSD: walking a dog can improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and research shows that spending time with a dog can reduce output of the stress hormone cortisol.

For those struggling with depression, having a dog can make a huge difference to your life. It can be hard to motivate yourself and you may experience tiredness and low energy as a symptom of depression. This can make it challenging to exercise, even though studies have shown that regular exercise can be a powerful antidepressant.

Dogs are great for motivating us to not only interact with them but to recognise their need to be cared for. If you have a dog, you must go outside to take it for walks. Physical activity releases endorphins in the brain that energise you and creates positive feelings. It will reduce stress, boost mood, and increase mental energy. Additionally, the routine of walking a dog every day can be a healthy distraction from negative thoughts.

Research studies from around the world have found that dogs offer health benefits to their owners, including:

  • Stroking and patting a pet can reduce the physiological indicators of stress, including high blood pressure.
  • The non-judgemental companionship and unconditional love offered by pets is known to have considerable mental health benefits for owners, including increased self-esteem.

LONELINESS

Dogs are fantastic companions, both indoors and out. Walking your dog can lead to conversations with other people and regular routes means that you often see the same people which can lead to relationship building.

Even if you don’t own a dog yourself, there are still plenty of ways to spend time walking them to achieve these benefits. Ask a friend or family member if you can take their dog for a walk or look for other places to volunteer as a dog walker. Many animal shelters rely on volunteers to walk the dogs in their kennels. Not only are you getting these mental and physical health benefits for yourself, but you’ll also have a boost from knowing you’ve helped dogs in need.

Our Trophy Nutritional Advisors have vast knowledge of the community and are always there to help, even if it is for a chat when they drop off your order. We pride ourselves in the relationships we build with our customers and their dogs.

 

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