The Health Benefits of Walking Your Dog

Sunrise Senior Living  |  January 24, 2019
The Health Benefits of Walking Your Dog
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Pets bring joy and companionship to our lives at every age, including during retirement. From lowering blood pressure to preventing depression, having a pet promotes better health. The body, mind, and spirit all benefit from having a furry or feathered friend.

The proven health benefits are why pet therapy has become part of daily life at healthcare organizations ranging from children’s hospitals to assisted living communities. You’ll find dogs, cats, birds, and even miniature horses making the rounds and spreading cheer.

Many older adults find dogs to be the best companions. In honor of National Walk Your Dog Month, we share a few reasons why canine companions are good for seniors.

6 Reasons You Should Walk Your Dog Every Day

  1. Builds balance: Living a sedentary life puts older adults at higher risk for falls, often because their balance and stamina decrease. Walking your dog every day will help to build and maintain strength, stamina, and balance.
  2. Reduces stress: Whether it’s a walk around the block or a stroll through the park, getting outside helps clear the mind. That’s a great way to reduce stress and boost the spirit.
  3. Creates opportunities to socialize: Dogs are generally very social creatures. They greet and make friends with everyone they encounter. For their owner, it can be a great way to meet the neighbors and build new friendships.
  4. Manages weight: Walking is good for keeping your weight in check. You can purchase a fitness tracker fairly inexpensively to track how many steps you are taking each day. Research shows that the healthiest older adults walk an average of 2,900 to 8,000 steps per day. While you’ll want to talk with your physician for advice, experts often suggest walking for a total of 150 minutes each week.
  5. Improves bone health: As we grow older, it isn’t uncommon for bones to become frailer. Walking helps build both muscle and bone strength, which helps guard against osteoporosis.
  6. Aids digestion: People aren’t often aware of this health benefit! Staying active as you age keeps your digestive system working well. Walking gives intestinal muscles a workout that aids in warding off common digestive complaints older adults have, such as bloating, constipation, and gas.

Sunrise Communities Are Pet-Friendly

Every Sunrise Senior Living community across the country has at least one pet to serve as the community’s shared companion. They make the rounds visiting friends each day. Check out a few of the pets who live at Sunrise communities on our Facebook page here!

We also welcome and encourage residents to bring their pets with them when they move to one of our communities. You can learn more about our pet policy by calling the Sunrise Senior Living community nearest you today!

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