Dog Walking: The Healthiest Habit You Can Start Right Now.

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What's your after-dinner activity? By the time dinner is over, many of us are ready to collapse on the sofa and catch a few T.V. shows or read a good book before bed. Your after-dinner reality might be more like catching up on email and helping kids with homework. Either way, it's important to carve out a little time for health and wellness every evening. One of the easiest ways to make a significant difference in mind and body fitness is regular after-dinner dog walking. It's the healthiest habit you can start right now. Here's why:

Lower Blood Glucose Levels

Do you try to stop at the gym on the way home from work to get a quick workout in before dinner? Or maybe you just want to get home after a long day, have dinner, and relax. Studies show that making one small change to your evening schedule is more powerful than a pre-dinner workout. That's right. After-dinner walking keeps you fit. It's better than your pre-dinner workout for lowering glucose levels. And it's dramatically better than no workout at all.

Improve Emotional Well-Being

People with pets are happier. Ever notice how dogs greet people after a long day? They're usually jumping around ecstatically, shaking and whining with happiness at the very sight of their long lost parent. That immediately brings your mood up a few notches. Especially if you give your pet 100% of your attention for 5 full minutes first thing in the door. Studies show that people who have an emotional connection to their pets are more active. It has a lot to do with the human need to nurture. In other words, making our pets happy makes us happy. There's no better way to make your pet happy than dog walking.

Manage Acid Reflux

Research shows that after-dinner walking helps manage acid reflux.  Different body postures, smoking, alcohol intake, high dietary fat, lack of physical activity, and lying down after you eat are all habits that contribute to acid reflux. Change your habits, change your life. If you exchange only one of these bad habits with after-dinner dog walking, you can significantly reduce acid reflux symptoms.

Lose a Few Pounds

It's amazing how powerful an after-dinner walk can be. You can significantly lower blood glucose levels, feel more energetic, and be happier just by making dog walking an evening habit. You can even lose a few pounds. Cross-sectional studies prove that people who walk more tend to be thinner. Keep up your after-dinner dog walking for an hour a day and you could lose 3-5 pounds in a month.

Start a Healthy Family Tradition

It may seem impossible to get the family together. For some, it's difficult to get everyone to sit down for dinner let alone gather for an after-dinner dog walk. I encourage you to start this valuable family tradition and stick with it. It encourages families to bond.

Dog walking has changed my family's quality time together. My first attempt at raising enthusiasm for this new activity a few years back was met with mystery looks. You know those eye-rolls that say you might be a little crazy?  Nobody was interested in putting on sneakers and heading out for a walk. Finally, we agreed to go for 15-minutes or walk for two blocks, whichever came first. After a couple of weeks, we were walking at least a half-hour without even noticing.

We learn a lot during these family walks. These are great times to listen to the kids talk about what subjects they like in school. It leads to great conversations about life expectations and identifying career paths. We also talk about future goals and dream vacations. Suddenly we're enjoying a 3-mile walk most evenings. That's about an hour and a half.

Your Pet Deserves It!

Most often, our pets have been home alone all day guarding the place and snoozing. It's been 8-10 hours since they've seen you. More importantly, it's been many long hours since they've been off your property to sniff around and stretch their legs. Your dog is ready!

It's time to start walking as your nightly after-dinner activity. Check out my product review on retractable dog leashes. They're Rottweiler tested and approved.

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