At WALX we know just how beneficial a daily walk with the dog can be (for both parties) but we also know that it can take a lot of time out of you day so how do you make sure BOTH of you get the maximum out of every step?
When we are out walking, we often see Dog walkers huddled in a circle and having a good old chat whilst their four legged friends dash around or chase the occasional ball that is flung via a weird ball chucking device. Oddly it’s usually these Folk who then cite that they are really active and do not have time for (and don’t need) exercise.
Now we know that just being outside is good for both Man and Beast and that a short walk is better than sitting down all day so we applaud anyone who gets outside and ensures their Pooch does too.
However, we thought we would explore how much walking you should both be doing in order to stay healthy and also if there are any ways to add some oomph to those steps.
How much walking is good for your DOG?
Typically, vets advise that an average dog should be walked for an hour twice a day and to be fair most Dogs would love to get that amount (some even more) However dogs vary according to size and breed and a tiny Dachshund is not likely appreciate the same daily mileage or speed as a whippet or breed of dog that was designed to follow carriages (Dalmations) or be hunting wild Boar all day. It also depends on their age and general health although don’t be fooled into thinking Puppies need mega mileage as this is actually not advised until their bones and joints are fully formed. Its really best to research your Dogs breed and speak to the Vet to avoid walking them too much or too little. Mind you if they are not getting out for long enough, you are likely to know about it as they will be bored and restless and more likely to have behavior issues.
The obvious ways to increase the exercise levels for dogs are to let them off the lead (if it’s appropriate) deploy the ball thrower mentioned above or break into a jog from time to time. Some of the ideas below will benefit your Furry Friend too.
OK so how about you, are your outings with the dog enough to improve your health? As stated above any walk is a good walk in our book but to gain maximum benefit, it’s a good idea to mix up the pace and include some exercise principles. What do we mean by that?
NHS guidelines for activity state that Adults should do at least 150 minutes of activity such as cycling or BRISK walking a week. The key word here is BRISK because you do need to elevate your heart rate enough to make you breathless in order to keep the cardiovascular system in fine fettle. It is also vital to include some kind of strength exercise into your week in order to avoid loss of muscle tone which in turn leads to weight gain.
The question is, how can you include these factors into your daily dog walk? The obvious thing is to up the speed and the best way to do this is to start by adding bursts of speed initially. Obviously bear in mind your Dogs ability to keep up though.
Another fab idea is to don a waist harness which will enable you both to pick up the pace or even use poles or a pro x walker (you not the Dog!) in order to get a good upper body workout too. If your dog is good off the lead you could include either of these without the harness. A great way to work out if you and your dog are doing enough quality walking is to get activity trackers like a FIT BIT – yes here are doggie ones see here
Joining a WALX club will also help massively because you will both get to socialise in a variety of locations where the WALX master may even throw in some extra exercise tips. Check out your local club for more info on sociable dog WALX or total body dog WALX