WELLBEING WALKS FOR BOTH YOU AND YOUR DOG
Getting enough exercise can reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, falls, depression, joint and back pain, and some types of cancer. And the benefits to wellbeing are huge too – improving your sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress and improving your quality of life. The more we do, the better it is for our mental and physical wellbeing. So if you have a dog to walk you’re at an advantage, because you have planned activity scheduled into your day from the start.
Research suggests that being responsible for a dog and meeting their needs serves as a really good motivator, which can have a great knock-on effect for our health too.
What’s more, lots of people find that doing some activity in the morning is a great way to start their day. With the current unprecedented times still upon us, we have seen and heard about the influx of puppies being brought home, enabling new dog owners to enjoy the special moments that a dog can bring to our lives. What we can't forget about, and no matter what breed, small or large, exercise is so important for our furry friends, and sharing their adventures brings so much happiness. Whatever time you go out with your dog, you can walk, run and play with them. This will all contribute to doing the physical activity we all need to stay healthy.
If you've seen me out and about with my group dog walks, I'm the crazy dog lady running around in circles, or playing a game of hide a seek with my four legged companions. Not all walks are about getting to the park as quick as you can and to just let your dog off the lead. Scent work (find it...), recall work, agility games can be so much fun especially for high energetic breeds. Dogs love to learn and this also builds trust between dog and owner.
Stop every few minutes and ask your dog to do their favourite trick. I've recently taught my Grace to 'speak' when asked to do so. I was impressed how quick she learnt but if she works hard she gets her positive reward. And that's the thing. My positive reward is sharing that bond with her, knowing I was able to train her a new skill and be able to laugh alongside her and see she's happy.
Why not use your dog walk to reach out meaningfully instead? If you can't bear the thought of leaving your phone at home, maybe leave your phone on silent whilst walking and look around as you walk rather than looking at your phone. Watch what your dog gets up to, enjoy your surroundings and talk to them. They may not understand what we are saying but they are the most loyal companions and give you so much of their time. Greet others warmly, and when it seems appropriate, enjoy a friendly chat with fellow dog walkers if you can. Social conversation has a positive impact, only today whilst walking a lady started walking with me (socially distancing) but we chatted about her old Jack Russell who she missed terribly and just for 5 minutes it was so nice for both of us just to have a quick chat whilst on the move.
Walking is extremely comforting, you may need to clear your head, plan your day, sort out some mess or even just want to be outside. Being with your dog has the extra benefit of taking you somewhere you wouldn't have gone. Your dog can help you through the bad days with showing their loyalty no matter what. They to will take care of you.
We are lucky to be in the middle of the Bedfordshire countryside. If you can, plan a longer walk one day in the week or even the weekend, rather than a quick walk around the block. It will do you no harm only good.
Let me know your favourite walks in and around Bedfordshire, I'd love to try them out.