5 Ways to Include Mental Fitness On Your Dog’s Walks!

Young woman with dog walking in the meadowOne well-known benefit of having a dog is that it makes you more physically active. It’s an accountability partner that keeps you walking 3-5 times per day! I’m not a fan of multi-tasking in general, but actually feel that while walking with your dog can be a great time to multi-task on certain other tasks.

I’m not saying you should walk and email; be safe and aware of what’s occurring around you. The following things are things that I like to do while walking with our dogs that I count as safe and rewarding multi-tasking:

Truly Appreciate Your Surroundings

Ok, this isn’t really multi-tasking, but actively doing this does get your brain moving and can increase your happiness. My first walk of the day which occurs just before dawn, is usually a shorter walk where I don’t bring anything with me. It’s just me and the pooch! Spending those first moments exercising all your senses, and appreciating your surroundings is both a positive and mentally awakening part of my day.

Think about all your senses: What do you smell? The sweet wet smell of a morning in April… What do you hear? The beautifully deafening sound of birds.  Feel your dog’s soft fur with a joyful rub and be happy you’re up and starting your morning together, and moving!

Listen to Podcasts

If you haven’t yet gotten into Podcasts yet, I’d highly recommend it. Podcasts tend to be isolated articles or stories in audio-format. They are pieces of audio that come in all durations, styles, and about different topics. There is something for everyone! What are your goals? What are you interested in learning more about? I’ll bet there is a Podcast for that.

There are many apps out there, both free and paid. The one that I like to use for Android is called “PocketCast.” I can subscribe to Podcasts I like, have them automatically downloaded when I’m on WiFi, and listen to them with headphones while on dog-walks.

What Am I Listening To Now:

  • Good Life Project
  • The Productivity Show
  • The 5am Miracle
  • Coffee Break Blogging
  • Blogging Your Passion
  • HBR Ideacast
  • The Ziglar Show
  • People & Projects Podcast

Listen to Audiobooks

Along the same lines of Podcasts, you can also listen to almost any book on Audiobook on your phone as well.

I get most of my audio-books from the Massachusetts public library network through their online reserve system (where the book-on-CD arrives at my local library) or through their OverDrive or Hoopla apps to borrow electronic resources. The OverDrive app works just like the Podcast app does; you can download over WiFi for offline listening. Check with your local library to see if they have an app for electronic resources.

For books that arrive on CD, I use a great app called “Smart Audiobook Player”. Using my computer, I copy all the Audiobook files into a folder I’ve made on my phone called “Audiobooks” and the ‘Smart Audiobook Player’ recognizes each separate file and strings them together for seamless listening. It’s smart!

Lastly, if the library doesn’t have something that I want on audio, I’ve used and love using the Amazon Audible app. Audible has an excellent 30-day free trial where you can start with 2 books!

Call A Loved One

Keeping in contact with people we care about, in ways beyond social media and the internet, is a critical component to brain health. People who create bonds with others have been shown to live longer and think more clearly!

It’s easy with my hands-free Bluetooth headset to call a friend or family member while walking the dog.

Make some of your ‘just to say hi’ calls, or make some calls that are on your to-do list.

[Want to Live Longer? Get Some Friends & Friends ‘help people live longer’ & Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health]

Bring a Partner or Friend!

There is nothing better than going on an after dinner walk with my boyfriend Will. It’s a perfect time to talk about our day, our dreams, and enjoy the night together. Walk with someone you live with, or if you have a friend close-by, invite them out to join you for a walk.

It makes a difference

While doing this other things, don’t forget to give your dog plenty of rubs, run, and frolic just like you normally would. No quality is lost on the dog’s walk by you doing some other things! And the time adds up! Even if you only have a small dog that goes on 3 x 15 minute walks per day, that still translates to almost 275 hours per year! Imagine all your can learn in that time through audio?! Over 300 Podcast episodes? Maybe 20 audio-books? All the social phone calls you could ever need to make? Imagine how it can impact your life!

And if you get used to doing these other things on your dog-walks, it may even encourage you to walk an extra mile! Both your body and your dog will thank you for that. 😀