- Exercise & Fitness
How to Burn Calories by Walking Your Dog
Meet Oakley, my fitness partner!
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!
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!
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?
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!"