Celebrating National Walk Your Dog Week

 |  Oct 5th 2010  |   12 Contributions


National Walk Your Dog Week kicked offthis pastFriday. If you're here on Dogster, then you already know that quality walk time with Spot profoundly deepens the bond between you and your best friend. With that in mind, and with experts from all fields agreeing that walking is an ideal form of exercise, it's high time to celebrate the dog walk as a fun fitness routine that boosts longevity for humans and canines.

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"Studies have shown that walking your dog can result in more exercise and more weight loss than most nationally known diet plans," says dogbehavioral therapistGreg Kleva, host of "It's a Dog's Life"on Sirius XM Radio, Thursdays at 8 p.m. "Participants lost 14 pounds on average in less than a year - far more than the average 'fad' dieter. A key reason for the better results: The dog walkers stayed with the program because of the emotional connection between dog and dog owner."

This makes a lot of sense: Workouts are always more fun with a partner to work up a sweat with. And what betterwalking partner could you ask for than a dog, who lives to get outside and walk? Pit bulls, especially, are renowned for their tenacity and will always be up for exercising by your side.

Talk about a motivator: Even on those days when you'd really rather not get up and go for a walk - those days when it's pouring rain or freezing cold outside, or both-a dog's persistentpresence reminds you that there's no excuse not to get out there and put one foot in front of the other.

If you haven't got a K9 workout partner/motivator, there's no time like right now to hot-foot it to your local animalshelter and adopt a dog.

Walking with a dog, you get the added benefit of using more muscles than ordinary walkers do. To add variety to your workout, you'll flex different muscles as you bend down to, say,scoop Spot's poop (and hopefully you'll do this with a biodegradable dog-waste bag such as the wittily-named "No.2" byHarryBarker). In fact, think of poop-scooping as a warmup stretch for your workout!

Now that you'll be walking even more - and more enthusiastically - than ever before, don't forget to look out for your feet. You'll definitely want shoes that support your 'dogs' while you exercise with your dog, or you could risk serious foot injury that necessitates a visit to the chiropractor.

I recently went shopping for new athletic footwear to carry me through my daily dogwalking routine. As the devotedslave of five rescueddogs, I do a lot of walking on an average day. And while Iadmit toa weakness for fashionable footwear that isn't really geared to dog-walking (I'm a gal with a footwear fetish), I'm careful to limit my style statements to short-distance walks. I prefer to approach my daily dog-walking duties as a fitness routine, and that requires functional fitness footwear.

A consultation with my local sneaker storelet me knowthat longer dog outings demand the rage in athletic footwear: running flats, lightweight numbers that cushion the frequent-dog-walker's feet while providing the option to break into a safe sprint with Spot at a moment's notice. This feature is especially handy when I'm walking my aerobically inclinedpit bulls Lazarus and Cupcake, whose entire existencewould beone longsprint, if they had their way.

Comfortable shoes that multitask are precisely the gear to invest in if you're serious about making dog-walking your fitness routine. After testing out several styles and brands, I've decided my favorite shoe for K9 care is made by Newton, the athletic footwear company that promises to help you "train smart, run fast, and recover quickly." It's called theTerra Momentus, and it's every bit as fabulous as it is functional.

The bold, bright colors of this shoeare enough to wake me up even on early mornings, evenaftera late Dogster deadline. The Terra Momentusisjustwhat's neededon roads and trails, for running as well aswalking. So whether you'rejogging with your best friend,"ruffing it"for a hike, or just out for aleisurely leash-walk (or a brief Spot-sprint out in the rain and back home), these are the multitasking shoes to get.

What's your favorite foot gear for walking Fido? Please tell us in the comments!

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