We’ve all been there – we love our dogs but when the ‘to-do’ list seems overwhelming there can be days when a dog walk can become just another chore. On these occasions, how can we make dog walks more enjoyable, and a win-win.
Using the time well :
Learn something new – Most people give their dogs two walks a day of between 25 and 60 minutes. This can be a great time to learn something new whilst getting fresh air and exercise. How about listening to a podcast, learning a language or listening to an audio book?
Clear your mind – some time out of the rush of daily life can be incredibly therapeutic. Take time to notice the things around you whilst you think with through with clarity and plan the ‘must do’s’ of the day ahead.
Exercise – walking at a good pace is a great form of cardiovascular exercise. It is low impact whilst still providing increased heart rate and fitness. Challenge yourself to stride up hills as fast as you can, or to walk sections of your walk at a faster pace.
Or how about supplementing your walk with some simple exercises to build strength?
For example, stop every five minutes and do a different exercise.
Ideas include walking lunges, squats, press ups (you can use a bench, or standing press ups against a tree if the ground it too muddy), triceps dips, burpees, squat jumps and (if dry enough) planks. Including just a few of these exercises daily can make a big difference to your strength and conditioning.
Clothing – when it is cold, layering up is best. Try to wear a breathable fabric next to your skin that will wick sweat. A windproof, waterproof shell is really beneficial for preventing getting cold on a blustery day.
On hot days, remember a hat and sun protection and take a thin layer in a bag for warmth - the British weather is unpredictable! If you are in an area where there is long grass, wear long trousers and sleeves to help avoid ticks. Always check for ticks after a walk in such areas in the spring and summer months.
Feet – never walk long distances in wellies - there is almost always inadequate cushioning and support. Walking boots are ideal, preferably with an Enertor insole to absorb the impact that is otherwise transferred to knees, hips and spine.
Good quality walking socks will add to the comfort and will help prevent blisters.
In the winter months, take a head torch: mornings take a long time to get light and evenings get dark both early and quickly. If you are in an area with traffic always wear something reflective.
If you are walking in the dark, put a light or something reflective on your dog. There are all kinds of light up collars and reflective jackets which are important for keeping your dog safe, but also for helping you spot them when they are off the lead.
When walking rurally make sure you have a charged mobile phone with you.
If you are walking at the same time each day, try to vary your route.
If you are walking a long way, especially in the summer, make sure you have water with you both for yourself and for your dog. A compressible dog bowl is ideal for slipping into a pocket or rucksack.
The Enertor soft water bottle allows you to drink on the go and compresses to a small size for easy stowing when empty.
Dog poo bags – always keep a roll of bags in your pocket, pick up your dog mess and most importantly, dispose of it appropriately in a dog bin if there is one on your route, or take it home to your own bin. Bags left can kill wildlife – take them home!
Most of all – enjoy the time you have with your loyal, loveable friend. When you have time, get out a map and challenge yourself to find a new walk in your local area. You’ll be amazed what you can find on the doorstep!