This week, Oct. 1-7, dog owners are encouraged to take their dogs for a walk each day to show them how much they are loved and appreciated. There is actually a website, , and a Facebook page, . If you visit these sites you will find out that 40 percent of dogs, a total of about 17 million in the United States alone, are overweight. You will be encouraged to walk your dog just 30 minutes a day to meet national recommendations for heart health.
The website is a big fan of walking. On it you will find this advice: “If you and/or your dog are overweight, walk just 30 minutes a day, three times a week, and you can lower blood pressure, increase energy, heighten your sense of happiness and well-being, reduce your weight by 5 percent and your dog’s by 15 percent. Think about how healthy you and your best friend will be if you walked seven days a week, every week! Even after just one solid week of walking for 15 minutes a day, you’ll feel awesome as you raise the levels of endorphins in your brain, which combats depression and anxiety. You’ll also notice a change in your dog’s behavior as well. Even if you just walked two to three times a week for 20 minutes each time, you and your dog will feel phenomenal. If you can run your dog, you’ll notice a faster change in his or her behavior. Positive changes in behavior lead to a happier you, which in turn, leads to a happy dog and a happy home. A happy home means that Spot won’t get dumped at the shelter because no one can deal with his behavior issues anymore. So take a walk, and save a life! It could just be your own!”
These claims may seem too good to be true, but a lot about walking seems that way. If you’ve read the Healthy Adams County Physical Fitness Task Force column in the past you will know that we are also big fans of walking. We have cited the above benefits of walking from many different scientific and university-backed studies. We’ve mentioned that the U.S. Surgeon General issued a Call to Action in September 2015 to increase walking and walkability in the United States. And we talk about how walking does all of the above plus has been found to reduce the risk of developing diabetes and some forms of cancer. I don’t believe that we’ve ever claimed that it will do the same for dogs, but it does make sense.
So, if you want to show your dog (or yourself) that you love him or her – head out for a walk. Walking anywhere outdoors is great, but if you’d like to see some of Adams County’s best walking spots and join a group of friendly, walk-loving people please join us on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Cross Keys Park, 785 Berlin Road, New Oxford, or Oct. 17, at Hollabaugh’s Bros., 545 Carlisle Road, Biglerville, starting anytime between 4:45 and 6 p.m. Or join us on our winter hikes. The first will be Sunday, Nov. 25 at Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve. Visit Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/healthyadamscounty/ or our website at . Dogs are welcome at all events except the walks in orchards due to food safety reasons.
Betsy Meyer is a member of the Healthy Adams County Physical Fitness Task Force and the Community Wellness Connection committee. PFTF meets the second Friday of the month at 11:45 in the Gettysburg Hospital Community Rooms.