House Calls

WIN 2018

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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h o u s e c a l l s { winter 2018 } 19 In the dead of winter, it can be all too tempting to stay indoors. Yet there's one pal who will always urge you to go outside and get active—your pup! "If I mention 'walk' in front of either of my dogs, their ears perk up," says Jim Merryman, owner of Roper St. Francis affiliated therapy dog, Molly. "We'll do four miles before I know it." Indeed, dog walking is a fantastic wintertime exercise: Each step boosts the heart health of both person and pet; the cooler temps are safer for your furry friend (overheating isn't an issue); and you'll reap the many benefits of fresh air and vitamin D, both of which we tend to lack this time of year. MAKE IT COUNT Dog-Walk Your Way to Good Health Pace yourself. Keep a steady pace of three miles per hour (or 20 minutes per mile) and you'll burn roughly 240 calories in an hour. Download a fitness app like MapMyRun to calculate your pace, distance, and calories burned. Let 'em run. Next time your pup's chomping at the bit to go faster, let the tugging be an encouragement to quicken your pace. Studies have shown that interval training (short bursts of running interspersed with walking) can burn more fat than brisk walking or jogging at a constant pace. MAKE IT COUNT P H O T O G R A P H S ( 2 , D O G S & H E A T H E R ) B Y L E I G H W E B B E R Always walk in front of or alongside your dog, especially in icy conditions. Falls from being pulled by or tripping over pets and pet paraphernalia (like leashes) sends roughly 87,000 people to the emergency room each year, according to a 2010 CDC report. If your dog won't maintain proper heel with a slack leash, consider investing in professional lessons. Use a short (roughly six-foot), non-retractable leash. Keeping your dog close by allows you to quickly respond to a sudden lunge or jerk toward passing dogs, squirrels, or other distractors. Experts agree that retractable leashes (which can extend to be more than 20 feet long) pose a number of potential health risks for both dog and human, including burns, car accidents, and even amputations. Wear bright, reflective clothing, especially when strolling during early morning or evening hours. As a bonus, opt for a reflective collar and leash, or a leash with a light attached. PROPER FORM: Walk one dog at a time. Juggling multiple leashes—especially on busy roads and around other dogs—can be dangerous. If you have a pair of pups, take each dog out individually (you'll get double the mileage!) or enlist a friend or family member to stroll alongside you with the other. Head to a dog park. Socialization is a key component of canine health (it helps Fido learn pack decorum and expend mental and physical energy). You'll benefit from mingling with fellow dog owners, too, as social interaction boosts well-being and decreases feelings of depression.

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