Health and Happiness: The Benefits of Walking Your Dog

We all know that regular walks are a must when creating a happy, healthy life for our dogs. Well, exercise is just as good for you, especially in your golden years, as it is for your four-legged pal. Studies show walking improves heart health and longevity, which is particularly important in older age, a time when health and fitness can deteriorate. So, along with the many other benefits of pet ownership, dog walking is a biggie. Read on for the ways in which dog walking can help both your mental and physical health.

Boosts fitness

It’s never too late to get fit and start exercising. Walking for just thirty-minutes each day has been shown to reduce hip fractures by 40% in seniors. This is because walking help maintain bone mass, something which you begin to lose in older age.

The many health benefits of walking include: stronger muscles, less pressure on the joints, better circulation, improved balance, lower risk of heart disease, and lower blood pressure.

It’s important you stay safe whatever the weather — and know how to walk your dog in snow — so the both of you can keep walking happily all year round.

Improves mood

Many people experience a decline in health and mobility in later life, which may lead to low mood and depression. Daily walking is a great way to lift your mood (as well as improve your health and mobility). As you walk, your brain releases endorphins, which make you feel good. And walking with your dog? You’ll maximize those happy feelings. Simply being around pets has been shown to elevate serotonin and dopamine levels in humans.

Relieves loneliness

Not only is a dog walk a great way to bond with your dog, but you can also use the time to socialize with friends — or even make new ones! So, bring a friend or family member on your walks.

You’re also bound to get talking to some of the fellow dog walkers you meet along the way. A study conducted on over 50s reported that those who walked their dog roughly four times a week experienced a stronger sense of community belonging than those who didn’t own a dog.

Ready to get out there, but don’t have much experience walking? Begin by taking your dog on shorter walks and gradually build up to longer ones. Stretching before and after will also help keep your limbs supple and avoid injury. Happy walking.

Submitted by Chrissy Jones

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