Hooray! It’s May. There’s no denying that Spring puts a spring into your spaniel. Dog walking is much more appealing when not trudging through icy puddles in the driving rain, nervously shuffling around the park in the dark, or fruitlessly whistling into biting winds for your dog to return. Spring and summer also herald the deep joy of not always having to spend 20 minutes on returning from the dog walk wiping the frozen wet mud from your pooch’s paws and underbelly, removing your dirt-drenched wellies – how hard is that? – and unravelling yourself from the countless layers of coats, scarves, jumpers and gloves. NHHQ’s hard-working number crunchers calculate that as a total weekly time-save of almost 2 ½ hours (or 2 ½ episodes of Line of Duty, which is increasingly how we measure time).
National Walking Month
So, with the joy of summery dog walks on our minds, we are determined to make the most of the national challenge of National Walking Month run by “Living Streets”, (https://www.livingstreets.org.uk). For nearly a century, this UK charity’s mission has been to achieve a better walking environment and inspire people to get out and about on their feet. The early days of their campaigning led to the UK’s first zebra crossing and the introduction of speed limits. National Walking Month is the annual initiative to encourage people to take advantage of the longer days and walk more throughout the month of May, and this year is the charity’s 90th anniversary, so they are giving it even more oomph!
Walking is Good for YOU, too
We all know that our dogs need their daily exercise, but National Walking Month has reminded us of the host of the proven health benefits walking offers us owner-types as well. There’s almost nothing regular walking can’t help fix, and so, to give ourselves a boost (so rare we get to feel smug these days, we must take the opportunity when it crops up), here is a list of some of the fabulous benefits your daily stroll with your canine pal can offer:
• a boost to your sense of well-being and reduced stress
• a boost to your immune system
• reduced risk of some cancers
• an increase in the strength of your heart and lungs
• an aid to weight loss
• reduced blood pressure
• lowered risk of dementia
• increased Vitamin D intake
• improved digestion
Walking is truly excellent exercise – as Living Streets state on their website: it’s free, flexible and fun, and carries with it a host of positive effects.
But it’s not just our muscles and mood that benefit from regular walking. Living Streets strongly believe in creating a walking nation, and there is no doubt that if walking were the natural choice for all every-day, local journeys, our roads would be less congested, and our air better quality. So, why not take your dog out and “walk your errands” instead of jumping into your car? Two birds, one stone? National Walking Month is certainly the time to try out walking instead of driving – you never know, it might be truly revolutionary and even save you time on occasion (not struggling to find parking on the High Street may ultimately leave you a spare half hour later in the day for the second half of that episode of Line of Duty…)?