Jana likes to grow stuff, exercise, snack, and explore creative projects as a means to relax and grow.
An Easy Weight Loss Option
Not in the mood for gym fees or strenuous types of exercise? Do you love your pooch and want to spend more time with them? Then walking with your dog is not just healthy for your own body, but it's a free way to lose weight and to bond with your pet.
The good news is that walking is suitable for those of us who are unfit and need to lose quite a bit of extra "luggage." You can currently be very sedentary and still go for a short walk.
Why Do I Need a Dog?
You don't need a canine companion to shed those extra kilos. The dog is not the magic ingredient here that will make you lose weight when you walk (that will be your own level of effort!). However, taking your mutt for a stroll does come with benefits.
- Walking also keeps your pet healthy; physically and mentally.
- It's a great bonding activity with your dog.
- You might be safer than someone walking without a dog.
- The dog's boundless curiosity over its surroundings might encourage you to walk just a little bit further.
- Dogs who love walking will nag you to go for a walk! This way, you might walk more often.
What to Pack
Walking your dog doesn't call for heavy packing. You can stroll along with just the clothes on your back but consider taking along a small water bottle and bowl for the dog, a spare leash or harness, as well as a small first aid kit.
Dress for the Occasion
Here's What You Can Expect
Weight Loss and Effort is Linked
There's a direct link between weight loss and effort. If you are a novice walker, never overdo things. Listen to your body to know when you're ready to walk longer, faster and harder—never listen to impatience!
Forget About Timing Yourself (Most Likely)
Here's the thing about walking with dogs. Our furry friends repeatedly brake during walking. This is because their nose alerted them to a fascinating smell or they see something interesting—like another pebble.
Try not to get too impatient with them. When a dog gets used to a certain route, they do fewer stops. If your dog likes a hefty pace, however, try and keep up with your pet. You'll soon work up a sweat!
You Might Experience Some Aches
After the first few walks, expect some stiffness and aches. As the body adjusts and grows fitter, muscle soreness will be apparent. In fact, you can count on this if you walk a strong or boisterous breed!
When the stiffness becomes a bit too much, skip a few days to recover. In any case, it's a good idea to walk every other day or three times a week to give both yourself and the dog some time to grow fit.
Stepping It Up
Walking your dog can be a rewarding free weight-loss option. Even more so when you develop a regular routine. You'd be surprised how quickly the body becomes fitter from this healthy exercise.
As mentioned earlier, quick weight loss is directly tied to effort. Once you are in a regular walking routine and feel more fit, there's no harm in adopting a brisker pace over longer distances. Take care of your health (don't overdo it) and always keep an eye on your walking companion's health as well.
Keep Things Fresh
Tips and Warnings
- To avoid boredom, try new routes.
- Stay vigilant. Dogs often swallow foreign objects when they walk including small bones.
- If time is a problem, revisit your schedule. There has to be ten or twenty minutes somewhere to dedicate to walking your dog.
- Educate yourself about canine illnesses. Many, like parvovirus and distemper, can be picked up by your pet or shoes and brought back home. Both can be prevented by vaccinations but not tick bite fever. When returning from walking your dog, use a tick comb or inspect it's coat and between the toe webs for ticks.
- Finally, focus on the enjoyment of spending alone time with your dog and nature (if you're lucky enough to walk somewhere beautiful). The more one enjoys the process of walking for weight loss, the less it feels like a chore to shed that extra weight!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Jana Louise Smit
Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on September 12, 2018:
Great suggestion, Carolyn! I live in the country, perhaps that's why that one slipped by me. ;)
Carolyn Fields from South Dakota, USA on September 10, 2018:
Great hub! I would add that packing a couple of empty plastic bags (for cleaning up after your dog) is very important when walking in the city. Out in the country it's not as much of an issue.