Why Walking Your Dog is Healthy for You, Too  

You’ll probably never be as excited to walk as your dog is. When you grab that leash and harness and say that magic word, most dogs lose their minds. And for good reason, as daily walks can keep your dogs physically fit and mentally stimulated. But there’s plenty for you to be excited about, too.    

Researchers at Michigan State University found that dog owners are 34% more likely to fit 150 minutes of walking into a week compared to non-dog owners. They also found that dog owners walked 22 more minutes per day compared to non-owners on average.  

As a low-impact form of exercise that is easy on the joints and can be done just about anywhere for free, walking is the unsung hero of the fitness universe. Walking for roughly 2.5 hours a week can unlock significant physical and mental health benefits. And it’s a lot more entertaining when your dog is strolling alongside you! Walking for roughly 2.5 hours a week can unlock significant physical and mental health benefits. And it’s a lot more entertaining when your dog is strolling alongside you (or at least more interesting)!  

Brisk walking helps you stay physically fit and stave off disease: The next time your pooch pulls you along, take its cue to pick up the pace! Brisk walking can help you maintain a healthy weight and trim body fat, while providing a boost to your balance, cardiovascular fitness, coordination, and muscle endurance. 

The Harvard Medical School states that daily walks of 20 minutes or more can cut your risk of heart disease by 30%. Health experts have touted time and time again that the faster, further and more frequently you walk, the greater benefits. Don’t be afraid to tire your pup out a bit by taking it out for a few long weekly walks at your local park.  

Walking outside puts you in a better mood and boosts your energy: Walking for your mental health is a real thing. Exercise frees those “happy” chemicals in your brain, like endorphins and dopamine, and reduces stress and tension in the process. If the fresh air and vitamin D don’t rejuvenate you, the mood-boosting properties of a happy, healthy dog bouncing around by your side just might.  

Walking has its social benefits: Walking is a wonderful way to meet new people (and doggo-s). And not just strangers at the park, either. If you’ve walked semi-regularly in the past, you probably know that walking is a natural way for you to bump into your neighbors and engage in small talk. This makes it a great way to build a sense of community. Even shorter walks can help us feel more connected. According to the Harvard medical staff, social scientists have even found that as more people take to the streets, neighborhood crime rates fall, and the local economy improves. 

If these aren’t enough reasons to get up and do something good for your own health, take a look at that wagging tail and irresistible set of puppy eyes the next time you’re feeling unmotivated. 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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