After a long day at work and a great deal of hassle in bumper-to-bumper traffic, it may be tempting to take a shortcut when it comes to walking your dog. Maybe you end up asking your kids walk the dog in the evening. Or even just let Fido run around in the backyard. But, when you do this you could be depriving yourself of many benefits that come from spending time walking the dog.
Emotional and Mental Protection
Being outside and spending time with your dog acts as a natural stress reducer. Research has shown that just having a pet can help lower levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone, in the body. Physical activity in of itself is also a known stress reliever. Depending on where you walk your dog you may also enjoy being out in nature or in a calming environment, which can be soothing after a long day. Being outside in nature also seems to help refresh the mind and improve the ability to focus.
Getting Plenty of Exercise!
Those who own a dog will be guaranteed some exercise every day, which is, on average, more activity than many people get. This is very important for those with diabetes, as exercise can help improve insulin sensitivity and keep your waistline trim. Research found that walking briskly for about one hour a day can also help combat the effects of obesity genes. Regular brisk walking is even recommended as a way to help manage diabetes.
Furthermore, walking may help curb your appetite. Scientists found that a simple 15-minute walk reduces the cravings for chocolate during stressful situations.
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Diabetics can develop complications, such as poor blood flow to the limbs. This is the beginnings of more dangerous complications that could lead to infection and amputation. Walking also helps stimulate the heart and strengthen your circulatory system.
Giving Your Immune System a Boost
Taking your dog for a walk may also help strengthen your immune system. It seems that participants in a recent study who took a 20-minute walk at least 5 days a week had 43% fewer sick days, compared to those who only exercised once a week.
With all of these great benefits to walking your dog, you may want to make this chore a regular part of your daily routine.