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Walk Your Dog For Better Mental And Physical Health

If you own a dog, you already know how important it is to walk him regularly. You also know that walking your dog keeps both of you fit and healthy, but during the cold days of winter, getting out there every day can seem more of a chore than a pleasure. This is why January has been designated Walk Your Dog month.

We all know how easy it is to resume a good practice once we take a break. Walk Your Dog month can help you stay on track with your New Year’s resolutions. Walking your dog provides much needed exercise, which is good for your physical health, but what about your mental health?

For one thing, it gets you out of the house. Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the winter months. With COVID-19 still ravaging several parts of the world, many people suffer from loneliness and isolation. Getting outdoors with your pet in the cold, fresh air can boost your mood and stave off depression. A few other benefits of walking your dog are:

  • Companionship, acceptance, and unconditional love
  • A feeling of calm and security
  • A feeling of being needed

Walk Your Dog month can help you stay on track with your New Year’s resolutions.

Want to make your pooch look extra special for Walk Your Dog month? Try some of these essentials to keep him nice and warm during your walk.

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Short Workouts

Recently, I overheard an elderly gentleman at the gym speaking to another man while they worked out on the bike. “If we would exercise ten minutes then watch a little TV then exercise another ten minutes, we would be all right.”

His friend agreed, and so did I.

You don’t need a lot of time to exercise. In fact, you can exercise while watching TV. Experts believe that exercising just ten minutes a day five days a week can produce the same benefits as if you exercised an hour a day four days a week.

Here are some things you can do:

Theraband exercise

As an occupational therapist, I used Therabands a lot with my patients for strengthening and increasing range of motion or for helping them recover from injuries. You can use them  to strengthen and tone upper and lower body.


Pros: They are inexpensive and lightweight and can be taken anywhere. You can use them during your lunch break. They come color-coded for different resistance levels.

Cons: They may break after some usage.

Walking

Walking briskly around the block ten minutes a day can work wonders for your cardiovascular system, improve energy levels, tone and sculpt your body and give you a general sense of well being. Pros: You don’t need any special equipment to do this. Cons: The weather may not always be in your favor.

 

Indoor Cycling

This is a great cardio workout you can do in ten minutes. Just get on your bike and go. This workout burns calories, tones and strengthens your body.

 

Pros: Gives you the convenience of a gym at home.  Can be adjusted to suit your fitness level and fitness goals.

Cons: The cost. Some assembly needed.

Stretching

Athletes know the benefits of stretching during their regular workout, but for us ordinary folk, stretching can substitute on those days when we are not able to get out there and walk or go to the gym.  This promotes flexibility, relaxes your muscles, improves blood flow to your joints and reduces the risk of injury.

Pros: Can be done anywhere, indoors or outdoors.

Cons: Should not be done on cold muscles. You may injure yourself if you stretch incorrectly.

Jump Rope

Long ago, a jump rope was just that – a piece of rope long enough to allow you and your friends to jump in and out and have fun. You can still use a piece of rope and you’ll have fun and burn calories at the same time. But if you are looking for something to increase your speed and endurance, you might want to get a pair of these:

Pros: Inexpensive and can be used indoors or outdoors.

Cons: May not suit all fitness levels.

You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money in order to exercise. Using your own body, the wall, the floor or an elastic band can help you get on your path to fitness. If you need help getting started, sign up for my health coaching program and get on your path to wellness today.

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