This post is dedicated to the memory of my dad who would have been 79 years old today.
At the beginning of 2012, my post was entitled, “Control Your Core, Or It Will Kill You”. The major theme was to encourage you to get moving . In other words-EXERCISE! Well, I told you in the post what I was doing. Now I would like to share an update. After the passing of both parents within a little more than a year apart, I had the distinct pleasure of acquiring their dog. He is a nine pound silky terrier (Silky). Silky is not his real name but that is how I will refer to him in this post. He was predominately raised around people, and loves being the center of attention. Throughout most of my life I have grown up with dogs-Pekingese, Poodles, Pomeranians, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, just to name a few. So, I guess you can say I am a “dog lover”. However, the loss of my last dog was traumatic enough to vow never to get attached to another dog. There is a saying, “Never say never”. Sometimes the things we don’t want in life, turn out to be the best things for us! Remember how your parents use to make you eat vegetables when you were little? As it turns out, vegetables are the best foods for us to eat! As for Silky, he has been a source of comfort to the family, especially during our time of bereavement. While at the same time, being a wonderful bundle of joy!
Now that I have become attached to Silky, the two of us have started walking in our neighborhood twice a day, morning and evening. We walk around the block for about 25 minutes that is, if my dog decides to take his time. But we can do it in about 20 minutes walking briskly. That is about 40-50 minutes per day. You are probably thinking “that is real easy”. Well, the street has an incline similar to walking up a hill. I have watched people take breaks because they are literally out of breath walking up that incline. At first, it was a challenge for me and Silky but for three months, at least five days per week we did it. I can not tell if I have lost weight but I certainly feel better and I sleep well at night. When I don’t feel like walking, guess who makes me? Right-My dog. Silky is conditioned and he looks forward to his daily walk. By the way, walking can help prevent dreadful illnesses such as: cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Check this out:
I found another wonderful article written by Jane Warren. She shares 5 Surprising Ways Dogs Improve Human Health and she expounds on walking and a few other things. At the end of the article, there is an inspirational message and a video by the group Mary, Mary.
5 Surprising Ways Dogs
Improve Human Health
We all know that a dog is man’s (and woman’s) best friend, but numerous scientific studies have also proven that dogs can improve human health. There’s no surprise here. Humans and dogs have been working together for thousands of years, and some scientists even believe the two species have evolved to live with one another. While having a pet will not improve your health if you never wanted a pet in the first place, animal lovers can reap numerous benefits from living with animals.
Dogs Encourage More Exercise
Most of us know the benefits of exercise, but it can be a struggle to find the incentive to get up and get moving every day. A dog provides strong motivation, and can make your daily walk or run less lonely and more fun. Moreover, you’ll burn extra calories when helping your dog walk on a leash and doing brief training exercises with your dog. For some people, going for walks alone is scary, but the additional security of a canine exercise buddy can make runs and walks feel more secure. I know that with Ranger, I have to walk him every day, and he’s always ready each morning, so morning time it is! Sometimes we even squeeze in an afternoon or early evening walk, which is better for my health. See the information in this study on pets and our health done by the National Institute of Health.
Dogs Help With Stress Relief
There’s no doubt that dog ownership does come with some stresses, from making sure you’ve applied their monthly frontline for fleas to worrying if your dog will get along with the other dogs at the dog park. But the benefits of pet ownership more than outweigh these minor stresses. Research shows that a few minutes spent petting an animal lowers blood levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol contributes to fatigue, weight gain and aging, and your pet can help counteract its negative effects. A few minutes playing with your dog every day also releases endorphins, powerful “feel-good” hormones that continue to function in the bloodstream long after the playtime ends.
Dogs Give A Sense of Safety
Many people living alone worry about intruders and burglars, and a dog can help give owners a sense of security. Burglars are less likely to break into a house with a barking dog, and your dog can help you feel less lonely whether you’re just spending the night by yourself or living alone long-term. If your dog is older and struggles to move around, you can still rest easy knowing that your dog will get to an intruder before you do. If the dog needs access to higher surfaces, you can invest in a pet studio dog ramp to make it easier for your dog to be visible and see outside.
Dogs Generate Social Interaction With Others
People who have regular positive interactions with others tend to live longer and be happier, and pets provide you with a valuable opportunity to meet and interact with other people. Even if you’re shy, it’s easy to strike up a conversation with another person if you’re both talking about your animals. Trips to the vet, the dog park, and meet up with other pet owners also provide pet owners with easy and substantive opportunities for interactions. If you’re still anxious about meeting new people, consider joining a message board or online group for people with similar pets to yours. You’ll quickly find yourself making new friends in addition to learning a lot about your best friend–your pet!
Dogs Help With Better Mental Health
In a fast-paced, high-stress world, mental health diagnoses such as depression and anxiety are at an all-time high. But pet owners have fewer mental illnesses, and animals are even used as therapy for people suffering from mental illness. If you struggle with depression, an animal can help you avoid dwelling on your problems. The exercise and stress release you get from spending time with your pet may even reverse the effects of depression. Dog owners are also substantially less stressed than people who don’t own dogs, and reduced stress is strongly correlated with lower blood pressure, a longer life span, greater happiness, and improved health. So, if you don’t own a pet, and want to make some positive changes in your life, go to a local animal shelter or humane society, and find your next best friend today. You’ll both enjoy a healthier lifestyle!
I agree with Jane. You will enjoy a healthier lifestyle. I always try to provide something inspirational from my favorite book-The Bible. The following web link talks about how dogs are considered to be God's Messengers in the Bible There are actually 40 verses in the Bible that pertain to dogs. Some are giving warnings about how people should live. For other people, a dog is the last thing that they will see before their life ends.
Philippians 3:2“Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh”. Life is full of two-legged dogs who want to destroy your reputation, your self-esteem, your joy, your courage or just YOU. Here lately, I have dealt with quite a few of those kinds of dogs. But God wants us to be self-controlled and alert because it is not the person that harms you. It is the spirit within them.
I Peter 5:8 states, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”. The bottom line is that everything is going to work out in the end. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” My dad loved quoting Romans 8:28. It was his favorite! It is comforting to know that God has given us dogs to comfort, bring us joy, warn, and protect us just as He does through His Word.
Jane Wamen, http://www.pamperthepets.com
Mary, Mary, I’m Walkin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-baoSWy8jY&feature=related
What are your thoughts about this post?