Want to know how an active, nature-centered community celebrates International Dog Day? By taking a walk in the park of course! Bordered on three sides by one of our nation’s largest federal parks, we at Stephens Valley are so blessed to live amongst 500 acres of protected open space that keeps us—and our furry friends—healthy and happy at home.
If you need an excuse to get moving with your four-legged companion today, keep reading to find out the top-five canine-related reasons to hit the trails!
Improves Cardiovascular Health All Around
It’s no secret that walking is a great way for humans to get some much-needed exercise, but it’s also one of the best ways to ensure your dog gets some too! According to the Cancer Nutrition Centers of America, dog owners are more likely to survive heart attacks and report fewer trips to the doctor’s office by as much as 20%!
Obesity in pets is associated with a number of medical complaints including cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and insulin resistance, so taking your dog for a walk is a key component in his or her preventative care. Plus, dogs that don’t receive sufficient exercise are much more likely to become bored…and destructive.
When you take your best buddy out for a stroll, make sure you take breed, age, and outside temperature into consideration and plan accordingly!
Strengthens Your Bond
Dog walks provide much-needed quality time for you and your pooch. Not only is this time extremely important to his or her behavioral development, but it also will build a foundation for a trusting and loving relationship for years to come.
Bonus fact? Studies show that bonding with pets triggers the secretion of oxytocin (aka the cuddle hormone). Spending time outdoors is a great way to improve your mental health…and that of your canine companion!
To build on our last point, solitary walks (for humans) and sitting in the backyard alone (for dogs) can get a little lonely if you ask us! Taking a quality walk with your best pal can help you both reduce any feelings of loneliness, leaving you both happier in the long run.
Walks are the best way for you and your pup to experience the world together! Plus, you are more likely to interact with other people on your walk when you have your greatest—and furriest— conversation starter right by your side. You’d be surprised what regular social interactions can do to combat feelings of depression and anxiety, especially during this unprecedented time of isolation and quarantine. What better way to get out of the house, turn off your phone, enjoy the great outdoors, and safely socialize with friends and neighbors than to hit the nature trails!
Lowers Stress Levels
Not only does walking reduce blood pressure, increase energy, and improve your overall sense of well-being, but it also lowers your stress levels tremendously! In this age of the coronavirus pandemic, many people are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety that is becoming increasingly difficult to manage. Scientists have proven that physical exercise is one of the best ways to reduce mental stress and bringing your dog along for the ride—or should we say walk—increases those benefits in spades!
New to walking? We recommend starting out slow to avoid injury and gradually working your way up to 30-60 minute daily walks. Also, don’t forget to have bags handy for potty breaks as well as a bit of fresh water in case you or your dog get thirsty. We look forward to seeing you and your best friend out on the trail soon!