Walking a Dog – Helped to Lose Weight
Dear Dr. Mahler:
I am 79 years old and was hospitalized last month for a flare-up of COPD. Usually I have 1-2 episodes of bronchitis during the winter and need an antibiotic and prednisone. I usually get short of breath clearing snow off of my car and drying off my dog when he gets wet from rolling in the snow.
The reason that I am writing is to share my “secret” for losing weight. I live alone in a trailer, but last May I got a dog for company and activity. He wants to go out at least 6 times a day, and I need to walk him with a lease. There isn’t enough space for him to run around in my small yard. To care for my dog, I walk several times a day, up to 20 min at a time. Although I had not planned on this, I have lost 18 pounds since last May. I feel so much better being more active and it is easier to breathe losing my belly fat. Please share my experience walking a dog with your readers.
Sally from Bennington, VT
Many thanks for you note. Congrats on losing 18 pounds and make sure to give your dog a treat for helping you lose weight.
Here is some information about walking a dog and health benefits. In general, dog owners get twice as much exercise as those who do not have a dog. One survey reported that on average dog owners walked with their dog 24 minutes twice a day which adds up to 5 hours and 36 minutes a week. Studies show that those who walk their dog have the following health benefits:
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased mental attitude and sharpness
- A lower risk of heart disease
The amount of exercise required for your dog will vary depending upon their breed and energy. Your dog can be a great incentive to get outside.
Here are some suggestions for those who have dogs. Set a daily routine with your dog. Try to walk at the same time each day. Also, find a dog park for fun and variety.
Sally – thanks again for your email. Hopefully, your experience will help others have a new friend and find a way to lose weight.
Donald A. Mahler, M.D.