Taking regular walks with your canine friend can help you exercise as well.
My husband and I gave each of our twin sons a Beagle/Lab puppy for Christmas two years ago when we moved to our 100-acre farm. It was perfect, we thought—the dogs could roam the woods while we were out all day.
Every morning, as if heading off to work, Charlie and Rascal would rush out the door and then return home in the evenings hungry, filthy and tired.
But one day, the pups didn’t come home. Finally, after a week, Charlie showed up. He had puncture wounds all over his body. We never saw Rascal again.
A vet saved Charlie’s life, and we decided we’d have to keep Charlie on a leash whenever he went outside just to be safe. A new form of exercise entered my life: walking the dog.
Here’s how it works. My husband and I do most of the care. The truth is, the dog sleeps in our bedroom! My husband, Robin, actually gets up at 4:30 a.m. to walk Charlie each morning. It’s not as bad as it sounds.
As an insurance agent, Robin is behind a desk all day. Walking Charlie helps him get regular cardiovascular exercise. Robin and Charlie walk down the drive, up the hill and to the main road where they pick up the newspaper in our post box. It’s a mile round trip.
I’ll do the same route with Charlie when I get home from teaching my morning classes, and then again in the afternoon. The boys walk him again in the evening. Between us all, Charlie gets at least four miles a day!
Here are some tips for getting the most out of walking your dog.
Don’t walk in flip-flops—wear good supportive shoes. While you’re at it, put on sunscreen and carry a cell phone just in case.
Work with your dog’s walking style. For instance, my dog is not a good walker. Beagles like to explore and run. And so I do a walk/run.
Dogs get thirsty, too. Bring a bottle of water for the dog and a bottle for yourself!
Your body will benefit from the regular walks a dog brings to your life, and your spirit will enjoy the breather, too. Plus, you can feel good that you are doing the right thing—“A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.” (Proverbs 12:10)
Get more advice from Theresa!
Find all you need to know on whole-person
wellness in Shaped by Faith.
Theresa is a former model and nationally certified fitness professional who teaches people to use their faith to inspire fitness and their fitness to strengthen their faith. She is the author of Shaped by Faith: 10 Secrets to Strengthening your Body & Soul, and two exercise DVDS: Pilates for the Soul
She and her husband, Robin, have seven children and live in Calhoun, Kentucky.
You can email her with any questions or concerns.