Sarah Rendell is a Physiotherapist with InMotion Health Centre and joined our team in 2012.  Sarah practices out of our Topsail Road location and is an avid outdoors enthusiast; she recently became a dog mom to her 60lb mixed breed Lou, below she describes some of the benefits of walking as well as some things to remember about your body when walking a dog of any size or breed.


The many benefits of physical activity, including walking, have been well documented.  Exercise can have a positive impact on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis, just to name a few.  I have always enjoyed walking and have been an avid walker for many years; much more recently, I have become a dog owner to a 60lb mix-breed name Lou.

Dogs are an excellent way to ensure you get out for your regular walks and can add purpose and energy to the routine.  Even though the furry friends can be great companions during your walks, it’s not uncommon for walking your dog to cause injury or pain to your neck, shoulder, back or other areas.  I thought I’d pull together a few things to keep in mind while walking your dog.

Try to maintain your usual walking pattern, or gait; if possible, let your arms swing normally by your sides.  If you’re holding a leash, try to switch up the hand you are using.  If you are comfortable that your dog does not pull on the leash, place the leash around your waist to allow your arms to hang freely; if your dog pulls on the leash, this technique might not be your best option.

Speaking of pulling, try not to let your dog get away with pulling, even when they are learning, if your pup is pulling on the leash, brace yourself and pause the walk until they are no longer pulling.  Using this technique you are less likely to get an unexpected yank that may cause a strain; if your dog continues to pull, it might be a good idea to see someone with knowledge in dog training for some advice.

Leash walking is mandatory in most public places and it’s important to have the right leash.  As an owner you will want to find a leash that is long enough so that you are not bent over while walking, but not so long that the leash is trailing on the ground which may cause a tripping hazard.  If your dog pulls, the retractable leashes can give them some extra force when they reach the end with the possibility of causing a strain.

As with any walk, always remember to wear appropriate, supportive footwear – heels and flip flops are not the best walking gear, no matter how stylish they might be.

A novel concept for me as a new dog owner is remembering to bring bags and stooping to scoop up Lou’s business during the walk.  Although you may want to get it done as fast as possible (especially if it’s on a busy street corner), take your time and squat down, bending your knees to pick up the poop.  Proper lifting techniques, even for something light is always a great habit to uphold.

Lastly, if you have a pre-existing weakness or injury in the neck, shoulder, back, or any body area, consider stopping in to speak with a Physiotherapist to see how we can help assess and treat the issue before it becomes more of a problem.  Happy dog walking!

lou sarah

 


If you would like to book an appointment with Sarah please contact 745-5945 or if you have any questions for her please feel free to contact Sarah at sarah@inmotionhealthcentre.ca

Thanks Sarah for shedding some light on proper techniques for dog walking.