Boost your fitness by becoming a homesitter in 2017
Posted on 23 January, 2017
Walking is good for both your physical and mental health. It is also one of the best exercises for people over 50 because it’s low impact.
Research presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress[i] has also suggested that setting aside 20-25 minutes a day to walk could add up to seven years to your life.
This is why people with dogs are general regarded as being fitter and healthier than the average person. Research last year by Butcher’s Pet Care[ii] found that people who own a dog walk or run 74 minutes a day on average compared to non-owners who exercise for just 18 minutes.
The research also suggested dog owners will cover an average of 1,092 miles a year on foot compared to just 364 miles for non-dog owners.
Even if you don’t have a dog you could still enjoy some of these benefits by becoming a homesitter – looking after people’s homes and pets when they go on holiday. Many of our clients have dogs and part of the appeal of the role for lots of our homesitters is looking after and exercising dogs.
Our homesitters tend to be people in their 50s, 60s and 70s who are looking to keep busy and active in their retirement. They are attracted to the role because they get the chance to stay in a wide variety of homes, all over the UK and, for many having the opportunity to spend time with dogs is the icing on the cake.
Sue and Gordon Heels, a retired couple in their mid-sixties started home and pet sitting seven years for this reason. The couple don’t own any dogs, but through Homesitters, they get the chance to walk dogs, get out into the countryside and keeping fit, whatever the weather.
Another benefit for the Heels is the fact they spend more quality time together. Sue explained, “One of the things we love about home and pet sitting is that we do it together. At home we tend to do our own things, but on assignments we work as a team and spend quality time taking the dogs for walks.”
Another of our homesitters, Rex Henshall who has completed over 350 homesits started home and pet sitting to do something useful with his time when he retired.
Rex told us, “My main motivation is the animals and the dogs in particular. I love bonding with them and get great joy when the dogs of a repeat client instantly recognise me when I come back and often try to jump in my car when I leave.”
Rex has also done some quite unusual assignments including looking after some African Snails. Whilst he didn’t have experience of looking after such pets, the clients talked him through their routine at the initial meeting and were very happy to leave them in his safe hands.
Other unusual assignments have been looking after an eight stone Burmese Mountain dog and couple of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, a fairly rare gun dog breed from the USA.
Rex’s experience of looking after dogs comes in very handy with larger dogs as they can be very strong when out walking – and he highlights that he loves looking after larger dogs the most, especially Alsatians.
Rex says “I’ve been very lucky with most of the homesits I’ve done and have looked after some lovely pets and homes, even the home of a Lord and Lady. I particularly love remote places where I can go for long walks with the dogs. I have done a few farm sits in the past and find these immensely enjoyable.”
If you are looking for a way to get fitter this year and think homesitting could be for you please click here to find out more.