Apart from the obvious benefits of hanging out with a bunch of cute barking buddies all day long, dog walking brings several health benefits.
For those of us who sit on our bum all day long or are stuck working indoors, the idea of a career such as dog walking, where you are physically active and get to be outdoors can be quite appealing.
However, dog walkers enjoy many more health benefits alongside daily exercise and fresh air. Here are a few more reasons why dog walking is a healthy career choice.
5 ways dog walking benefits your health
Whether you are currently a dog walker or perhaps you’re considering this as a career, It’s appealing to know that it’s a healthy occupation for more reasons than might initially come to mind. Let’s take a look at how exactly dog walking is so advantageous to our health and wellbeing.
1. It’s physical
Yes, I know it’s a bit obvious but it’s still an important factor. Many busy pet professionals are stuck, trying to squeeze their exercise into a few weekly gym sessions. Yet, dog walking means you are enjoying the benefits of physical exercise every time you take a client out.
So, whereas lots of professionals have to force themselves to stop at the gym after work, dog walkers can relax at the end of their day. Plus, just the fact that dog walkers tend to be constantly on the go means the risk of developing a disease linked to a sedentary lifestyle, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity or diabetes, is likely to be much lower.
2. Dog walking can reduce stress
While the immediate effects of stress include anxiety, poor sleep and general fatigue, the longer-term effects can be fatal. Continued bouts of stress can lead to heart attack, stroke and chronic depression—amongst other serious illnesses.
Now think of two things that are said to help reduce stress. The answer is regular exercise and companion animals. Dog walking provides both these things, which means lower stress levels and a healthier, happier life.
3. Good for overall mental health
Humans can be annoying—for many reasons. So, when you compare an office-based career to a dog walking career it’s kind of easy to see why a dog walker might enjoy better mental health.
After all, there is no office politics, no workplace bullying, no condescending bosses or frustrating colleagues. Dog walkers get to spend most of their time with waggy-tailed dogs that are thrilled to be outdoors.
Also, numerous studies show that simply being around and petting animals can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and increase happiness.
4. It’s social
While dog walking means spending most of your day with fur clients, there’s still ample opportunity to be social. You get to meet and talk to other dog walkers and pet parents. There’s the chance you’ll meet your client’s family or neighbours.
So, what impact do these regular social interactions have on a dog walker’s health? It’s a well-known fact (there are studies to prove it!) that the emotional support provided by social interactions enhances psychological wellness. This, in turn, may go some way towards decreasing unhealthy behaviours and poor physical health.
5. Create a work-life balance
Last but not least, dog walking can be a great career for balancing work and family life. That’s not to say that all dog walkers enjoy a fabulous schedule that allows them plenty of ‘me’ time. However, a career as a dog walker does give many people the freedom to set their own hours.
This can bring with it myriad health benefits. Not only can you avoid the mental and physical strain of having to be in work at a certain hour, but you also get to set a roster that allows you ample rest time.
Essentially, while we know dog walking isn’t a walk in the park, it does offer the flexibility to allow you certain benefits that can positively affect your health and wellbeing.
Are you a dog walker? We’d love to hear whether your choice of career has been good for your health. (Post in the comments below)
Umberson D, Montez JK. Social relationships and health: a flashpoint for health policy. J Health Soc Behav. 2010;51 Suppl :S54-66. doi: 10.1177/0022146510383501.
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