Friday, October 9, 2015

Grab a Leash and Get Moving!

This past summer I was devastated to find out our 2-year-old dog, Mattox, had cancer. I was sad to say goodbye to him at the beginning of August. Last week, I welcomed a 5-month-old Black Mouth Cur puppy, Sadie Mae, to my family and have added daily dog walks back into my routine.

Research shows that dogs are actually nature’s perfect personal trainers—loyal, hardworking, energetic and enthusiastic. And, unlike your friends, who may skip an exercise session because of appointments, extra chores or bad weather, dogs never give you an excuse to forego exercising. Consistency is the key with any exercise program and this is where your dog can help.

A survey of dog owners, conducted at the University of Western Australia, revealed that dogs are great motivators for walking because they provide a strong motivation to maintain exercise, are good walking companions, and provide good social support while exercising.

The exercise is beneficial for your dog, too. A fit dog is healthier and a tired dog is calmer for the rest of the day. In addition, daily walks are a great way to bond with your dog. A closer bond will help your dog to be more responsive to your commands. An obedient dog becomes a blessing, not a curse.

How can you include dog-walking in your day? Establish a walking schedule; plan to walk 30 minutes each day. This might include a 10 minute neighborhood walk in the morning and a 20 minute walk in the park in the afternoon. Or maybe three 10-minute walks fit better into your day. Don't count your dog's potty stops as a walk. Make sure these times are exercise for both of you. If dog-walking is scheduled into your day, you'll feel more responsible for sticking to your program. Plus, your dog will get used to the routine and will remind you when "it's time"!

I really enjoy walking in different neighborhoods, exploring parts of Burbank I rarely visit. I like to take advantage of the hills above the city and hike in Stough or Wildwood Canyons. It is fun to have a partner to go with as I explore pocket parks and cul-de-sac neighborhoods I don't usually drive through. After a hard workout, my muscles can get sore and stiff. Walking with the dog is just what I need to loosen up and stretch those muscles a little bit.

Add dog-walking to your weekly exercise program, 
Enjoy your canine companion and 
Stay active.

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