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How to Burn Calories by Walking Your Dog

Updated on June 19, 2013

Meet Oakley, my fitness partner!

He is handsome, athletic, energetic, and oh so kind.
He is handsome, athletic, energetic, and oh so kind. | Source

Find out how many calories you burn by walking your dog!

A ½ hour brisk walk burns at least 100 calories/mile at a 15 min/mile pace. It adds up!

USE THIS DOG WALKING CALCULATOR TO FIND OUT!

How many calories do you burn walking your dog?


I ditched my gym membership two years ago with the goal of living more frugally, yet still maintain a healthy lifestyle. I began to find different and creative ways to lose weight, keep that weight off, and still have fun at the same time.

Oakley is my 3-year-old Pit bull and four-legged fitness buddy. He may not be as handsome or muscular as my last personal trainer, but definitely more fun. And he doesn't charge me an arm and a leg for a one hour session. He motivates me to walk as much as 4-5 days a week. Oakley can be a good motivator when it comes to exercising. We started walking together to lose weight and bond.

It has become a normal part of my routine to walk with Oakley every day after work. Trust me, there are days when it’s windy outside and I’d rather snuggle up in bed and catch up on the Food Network. Oakley would motivate me to get out because I know we both need to burn the extra calories. All he has to do is sit in front of the door with that “look.” You know that look!


Rain or shine, we are both out there with our rain boots and waterproof jackets. Yes, he wears clothes. He doesn't wear boots, but the yellow windbreaker is his favorite. (Okay, go ahead and laugh. He's used to it.)

The American Heart Association (AHA) has set a guideline for physical activity of moderately intense cardiovascular exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You probably already knew that. Yet for many of us, the typical excuses always come up. “I don’t have time.” “I’m tired.” “My dog already ran around the yard.” “It’s boring.” We all have priorities and if your dog is not on the top of your list, let’s hope that at least your mental and physical health is a priority. Let me send a friendly reminder your way of the benefits of walking your dog, and how you can easily burn off those extra calories!


A walk a day will keep your DOCTOR and the VETERINARIAN away!

There are 65 million dogs in the US household and 25%-40% are overweight. Inactivity has been shown to be a significant risk factor for obesity in dogs. Obesity in pets is linked to medical complaints such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and even diabetes. Help prevent your dog from becoming another statistic!

Source

Benefits of walking your dog:


1. Trim that waistline

Racking up your miles each week will help you lose weight. Each step counts. Each mile counts. Each calorie counts. Even a half-hour each day of brisk walking can quickly add up! Challenge yourself and work your way up to a slow jog, a brisk jog, and then even run!

2. Reduce stress

Walking your dog will not erase your life’s troubles, but it will elevate overall mood and sense of well being. Take advantage of this short window of opportunity in your day to let your mind go. Clear your mind of the daily chores, financial worries, office headaches, relationship problems, or your kid’s crying voices. You can also use this quiet time to reflect on different aspects of your life. Breathe in that fresh air. Listen to your surroundings. Concentrate on your breathing. Notice the fruit trees. Or the birds, the bees, and whatever amuses you.

3. Fight the blues

You will feel happier! “Happy hormones” (aka endorphins) are released during aerobic exercise. Who needs Prozac? Just get a dog!

4. Keep your doctor away

Studies have shown that walking your dog daily will reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%-40%! In addition, it also reduces your risk of diabetes, cancer, and strengthens your leg muscles and core muscles.

5. Inspire you with new ideas for Hub Pages

You could use this time to put on your thinking cap and brainstorm on the topic for your next article. You can probably guess that I got the inspiration to write this article during my long walk with Oakley. I also planned our next hiking trip to Yosemite this year. Check, check, check.

6. Motivate yourself to live a more active life

Walking your dog daily can also inspire you to stay active and maintain a regular schedule. A study from Michigan stated that dog walkers had higher overall levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity than the other subjects, and they were more likely to lead an active lifestyle by doing other physical activities like sports or gardening. Once you get going, you’ll want to keep going. Trust me!

7. Increase dog’s lifespan

A dog needs social interaction, physical stimulation, and mental stimulation to increase its lifespan. All these needs can be met from just a simple daily stroll. Your dog’s mental stimulation is supported through territorial investigation. All of his senses are being used, as he sniffs around during his walk.

Most dogs only need to be walked once a day to reap the physical benefits. As for socialization, your dog will be given the opportunity to meet and greet as other dogs walk by them. This is especially important for puppies as they learn how to appropriately interact with other dogs and people.

Oakley completed a 3 mile hike at Yosemite last year!

How many times a week do you walk your dog?

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HOW TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF TO WALK YOUR DOG:


  • Change your mentality and throw out your whining about the hassle of having to walk your dog.
  • Think about the mental state you’re in when you walk your dog. How does it make you feel overall? Remind yourself of that feeling every time you feel an excuse coming up.
  • Listen to your favorite Pandora music station. Another reason to feel good!
  • Listen to audio books. It’s hard to find time to actually listen to those audio books that you’ve bought. Now’s the perfect time to kill 2 birds with one stone.
  • Cross off an errand on your list! Walk your dog to the post office! Once in a while, I actually walk to my cousin’s house to drop off desserts for her.
  • If you like taking pictures bring a camera with you and capture some interesting photos as you walk along a trail or a busy street.
  • Develop a routine and stick with it! I like to walk Oakley after his dinner because he usually relieves himself after eating. It's also a good time to release my mind of the day's event.
  • Keep your leash near your front door to remind yourself each time you come home from work.
  • Walk with a friend who has a dog. This is the perfect way to catch up on each other’s life. Bring your kids with you! Kids love to walk dogs!
  • If going to the gym can feel like a chore from time to time, dog walking can be more enjoyable! Burn those extra calories!
  • Bundle up on weatherproof clothes. I’m lucky to live in Sunny California where a 59 degree day in February is not a shock at all.

Humans tend to make excuses. Dogs don’t! They are excited and eager to go out EVERY time!

Oakley completed a 5K at Humane Society Annual Walk

Oakey's final pitch: "This article is not intended to lecture you on your need to exercise, or is it to make you feel bad about neglecting your dog. It is to inspire and perhaps give a friendly reminder about the benefits of using four-legged best friend as a fitness buddy!"

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    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

      Voted up and interesting.

      I used to take my neighbor's family's Border Collie mix on Northern Sierra day hikes with me, and we both enjoyed each others company. Having Gurr for a hiking companion was a plus, rather than a motivator.

      Pitbulls like yours have a reputation for being mellow indoors. But more active breeds will really need that walk in order to be calm indoors. And if you need motivation to walk 10 miles a day every day, get a Border Collie! :)

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Hi Larry, thank you for your vote! My neighbor's dog is a rescued Border Collie mix and she is actually Oakley's play date! ;-) You're right, they are definitely energetic! It's fun to watch them interact too.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Your dog looks so sweet! He looks like he loves to have fun, too! After reading this hub, I'm looking at my pooch, it's barely getting dark and I think I'm going to have to take a little with walk with him. That's what hubs like this are good for: I feel compelled to go out and walk my dog. I'll be back to comment more in a jiffy! :) Voted up and SHARING.

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Thanks cclitgirl, he IS soooo sweet.

      Have fun on your walk and say hello to your pooch for me...

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      He is a cutie. I want to get an exercise buddy and not spend so much time on the computer. Very cute hub!

    • dkm27 profile image

      dkm27 5 years ago from Chicago

      What a darling pup you have. Without "Molly Girl" I would never get out and walk. Your writing is riveting. Your Hub looks so much better than mine. I love the layout.

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 5 years ago

      It is much easier to get out and walk when you have a dog. We have an elderly couple on our block with two small dogs and it has been a joy to visit with them as they walk their dogs by our house.

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Thanks Tammyswallow and dkm27 for the kind words.

      Thanks mljdgulley354...my retired parents also walk both of their pomeranians single morning. It's sweet to see them share that routine everyday.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      A great hub. Dogs are great as exercise partners, as you get the company, but also the quiet lol. If your pit-bull is anything like my friends dog, then he has more energy than a tightly wound spring!

      SOCIALLY SHARED, up and interesting.

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 5 years ago from Cebu

      Yup. Walking a dog is beneficial to both the dog and the owner. It a good exercise and it also create a bond between pet and owner

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Brett- he usually has more energy than I do!

      Thanks for sharing my article!

    • KimberlyLake profile image

      Kimberly Lake 5 years ago from California

      I walk daily, I only bring my dog on short walks because he is little and I end up carrying him after a few blocks. But yes he loves to be outside and gets so excited when he knows we are going for a walk. Great Hub. Socially Shared! Voted up.

    • Kimberly Turner profile image

      Kimberly Quevedo 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Love it! Not only do you have such great tips, ideas and motivators here you relate to us hubbers (a little thinking time is all that you need and a quiet walk with a dog is a great time for that!). Thanks for the great hub!

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      Nice to follow you here :). Oakley is so cute! Your hub is a great tribute to Oakley! It is also a well written and informative piece that motivates us to get up and get out of the house! Thank you for sharing!

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Thanks Iamaudraleigh, he is a cutie. He gets so much attention every time we go out!

      Kimberly T, thanks for stopping by!

      Kimberly L, I also walk my mom's 16 yr old Pomeranian and sometimes I have to carry him too!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Great hub! You have a lot of really good information here and I like you walking buddy! :) We have 40 acres in the country, so my dogs pretty well walk themselves. However, I do try to go for a walk around the place when the weather is decent. Walking is good to help you clear your mind and I like to take pictures while I am out too. Great hub, voted up, and useful! Have a great day! :)

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Wow, sgbrown, 40 acres of land -- that would be heavenly for Oakley! We live right across a school yard and he loves to do sprints there! Thank you for stopping by and hope you have a great day as well!

    • KarenCreftor profile image

      Karen Creftor 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Awesome post Turtlewoman :D

      I don't have a dog and I don't think my cat would be quite so enthusiastic about going for a walk but I should be getting my own place soon and have already planned to get a dog, they're so good for your soul...looking forward to it even more now!

      Grats to the gorgeous Oakley for completing a 4k and a 5k hike

      ~Kaz x

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Thanks Karen! That's awesome you're getting a dog soon. Do you know which type of dog you might be getting?

    • Cosmic Bus profile image

      Cosmic Bus 5 years ago from Maryland

      I had to read this Hub as soon as I saw Oakley, he is so cute, I love Pitties! Great motivator for me to walk my 3 dogs, they all need it, especially my newest edition Aubie the Boxer pup! Voted up!

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Thanks Cosmic! Boxers pups are so adorable! Welcome Aubie :-)

    • profile image

      Sanna Hellström 5 years ago

      Lovely to read this! I did the same thing after a backoperation a couple of years ago. Used my dog for long walks, company and love for healing!!

      Enjoyed it and shared it!

    • Turtlewoman profile image
      Author

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for sharing Sanna! Dogs are definitely good company...I'm glad he/she was there for you after the back operation.

    • renee21 profile image

      renee21 22 months ago

      I love walking my dogs with my family. Great hub! Voted up.

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