Apart from unconditional love and round-the-clock companionship, our furry friends can bring us many more gifts. Dog owners around the world report feeling happier, healthier and more fulfilled since the time they decided to bring home a canine companion. Especially last year with prolonged periods of lockdown, people with pets stepped out of their homes more often than their counterparts, and felt an increased emotional and physical wellbeing. Here are 5 health benefits of walking your dog which should make you consider expanding your family!

1. Keep in shape with your doggo

Dogs can be very active and it is a good exercise to try to keep up with them! Brisk walking or jogging with your dog 20 minutes a day, every day of the week, can help you hit the WHO-recommended physical activity levels. Benefits include a stronger heart, lower blood pressure, stronger bones, less joint pains and weight management. To step up the fun, set up short competitions with your dog so that both of you come out of your work-out panting!

2. Walking your dog = More friends

We are all tempted to pet dogs when we see them, no matter who might be walking them. And sometimes, when it’s hard to resist, we might even walk up to the owner and ask for permission. Incidents such as these can often become starting points for conversations or friendships. Dog-walkers becoming friends in parks is all too common, and sometimes you can also find like-minded people for a pet-sitting exchange while you’re travelling or away from your dog for too long for other reasons.

3. Mental Health Benefits

People who have dogs are perceived by others as approachable and warm and for good reason. The non-judgemental companionship of dogs and their unconditional love can make us feel happy and acknowledged. The idea that dogs bring therapeutic benefits is hardly new – dogs are routinely introduced into care homes for the old or mentally disabled and association with them has shown invariably positive results. So if you’re considering getting a dog, brace yourself for a boost to your self-esteem and a general lightness of being, all brought to you by your new furry friend!

4. More sleep!

More sleep - health benefit of walking dog

Adults need 8 hours of sleep every day but many of us aren’t getting enough sleep. This might be due to stress, overworking, irregular sleeping habits or anxiety. Less sleep than required can be accompanied by harmful effects – headaches, dry, burning eyes, fatigue and irritable mood.

The good news is that playing around with your dog means losing calories and tiring yourself out, and that causes your body to fall asleep for recuperation more easily. Good sleep also makes us feel relaxed and more alert the next day and is tied to heightened productivity.

To sum it up:

It is Walk your Dog month and let’s face it – we’re all just coming out of a dreadful year. And there are plenty of dogs waiting out there to be adopted and so why not join forces and usher in a happier, healthier year? Walking a dog can bring all-around good health and there are a lot of other things you can do to stay healthy. Consult a general physician on Docvita to get a lifestyle review and begin this year on a good note today!