“Walk!” It’s a word that is guaranteed to prick-up the ears of every dog, but their owners would do well to listen-up too, because keeping your dog healthy also keeps you healthy. Recent Australian research found that dog owners walked significantly more and were more active in general than those without pets. Walking is the most popular form of physical activity for most people; it’s easy and accessible for virtually everyone, irrespective of age and fitness levels. A brisk walk for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, will keep you healthy. Don’t have 30 minutes to spare? Don’t worry – three bursts of 10 minutes is just as good. “Regular physical activity has been shown to help with sleep, feelings of happiness and confidence, and improve strength, balance and coordination,” says Shauna Jones, National Manager – Active Living, Heart Foundation. “If you need more motivation to get walking, why not join a Heart Foundation Walking group? Groups are available across Australia and best of all they’re free. Apart from the benefits for your heart health, it’s also a great way to make new friends and get out into the community. “A whopping 38 percent of us own a dog, and if all dog owners in Australia regularly walked them for even 30 minutes a day, the direct healthcare cost savings could be as much as $175 million per year,” she said. Like walking, it has long been recognised that pet ownership is also good for your overall health and wellbeing. So dog owners unite - put on your walking shoes, put paws to the pavement and get walking. Your dog will love it, and so will your heart! WALK THIS WAY TO A HEALTHIER HEART If being more active is one of your New Year resolutions try this:
1. Set realistic goals – like walking your dog each day!
2. Try walking with others – they keep you motivated and committed
3. Find ways to make being active a part of your daily routine A great way to do this is through Heart Foundation Walking – to find a group in your local area just call 1300 36 27 87 or visit www.heartfoundation.org.au.