By Dr. Margit Gabriele Muller
We all know that walking dogs is good for us. It’s great fun for both us and our furry companions but it also has amazing benefits that boost our wellbeing. But what is the science behind this?
Fact #1: Mental wellbeing
The world is experiencing an unprecedented mental health crisis due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in stress, anxiety, loneliness, and social isolation. Being in a different environment, tout on your walks, and interacting with your four-legged partner helps to reduce your stress due to the decrease of the stress hormone cortisol– and this is true for both you and your dog.
In addition, daily walkies bring new experiences and new sights because each walk is different. They help to break the monotonous daily routine and create beautiful lasting memories – and stimulate both your brains.
Fact #2: Emotional wellbeing
Do you remember the last time you enjoyed yourself and had real fun? Interacting with your pooch for just five minutes leads to excretion of the love, happy and wellbeing hormones oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphin. Therefore, daily walks are a perfect way to increase happiness and well-being levels for you and your dog.
It’s also a good time for you and your furry friend to enjoy fun games and play time in the park by channeling any excess energy. Living in the present and enjoying yourself in the moment is one of the secrets for real happiness. This will get you out of any moods in no time and enhance your emotional health tremendously.
Fact #3: Physical wellbeing
Daily walking is the perfect exercise to lower your triglycerides and cholesterol levels as well as reducing your blood pressure. And what’s best – our pooches help us to live longer! Walking is the best exercise for the whole body as your heart and lungs are strengthened. Dog owners have a 36% lower cardiovascular disease risk than non-dog owners! By improving cardiovascular health, research found that dog owners live longer after a heart attack than non-dog owners. And as additional benefit, it also reduces risk of stroke and enhances your immune system.
Often when we get older, we feel aches in our muscles, joints, and tendons and may even suffer from arthritis which can greatly impact our daily lives. Moving during daily walks is the best remedy for muscle and joint pain. It increases the flexibility of your muscles and keeps bones and cartilage tissues healthy and strong.
About 40% of adults are obese in US. The perfect weight loss program can be your daily walk to get you in perfect shape. 20 minutes of daily walking help you to lose about 14 pounds per year alone without any dietary change.
So, boost your health and start walking with your furry companion today and enjoy the many health benefits that it brings for you and your dog!
Your Pet, Your Pill: 101 Inspirational Stories About How Pets Lead You to A Happy, Healthy and Successful Life by Dr. Margit Gabriele Muller, out now, available on Amazon.
About the author: Dr. Margit Gabriele Muller is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with a doctorate in falcon medicine and more than twenty-five years of experience. She is a sought-after speaker and Certified Life Coach, NLP Master.
Dr. Muller is the Executive Director and Chief Veterinarian at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital in the United Arab Emirates – the world’s largest falcon hospital.