Owning a dog can have a positive effect on all aspects of health. In addition, a dog can positively influence your level of physical activity.
- Having a dog to accompany you in your adventures is great. Together you can try to accumulate 30 or more minutes of daily activity.
- You don’t necessarily need to own a dog to be active with one. Ask a neighbour to walk their dog once a week. Alternatively, the BC SPCA has a volunteer dog walking program.
- Some dogs may be able to walk more than you. If this is the case, walk to an off-leash park, and once there enjoy a game of fetch or let your dog run, play, and socialize.
Remember, just owning a dog won’t guarantee you the health benefits. For example, walking the dog doesn’t mean standing with a smart-phone while your dog runs around and reaps the benefits of physical activity. Dogs like to move, and so does your body! Here’s an interesting fact; during winter, it’s been observed that dog-walkers better maintain physical activity levels as opposed to non-dog owners, who on average were less active.
While long power-walks with your canine friend provide great health benefits, please be a responsible dog owner. People don’t enjoy a dog running or barking at them, or tripping them up when walking or running. Also please pick up after your dog; nobody likes stepping in a “surprise”.
Leash-up, lace-up and get your walk on!
Photo Credit: Istock
References and resources:
BMC Public Health: Does dog-ownership influence seasonal patterns of neighbourhood-based walking among adults? A longitudinal study