Why walking can keep the brain and body healthy

Posted on 10 February, 2020

Happy Dog Walker

Last year, neuroscientist, Shane O’Mara suggested that regular walking unlocks the cognitive powers of the brain like nothing else[i]. Speaking to The Guardian he said that “walking makes us healthier, happier and brainier.”

Mr O’Mara explained that when we are out walking there are all sorts of rhythms happening in the brain as a result of engaging in that kind of activity, which are absent when you’re sitting.

He added that one of the great overlooked superpowers we have is that, when we get up and walk, our senses are sharpened. Rhythms that would previously be quiet suddenly come to life, and the way our brain interacts with our body changes.

In another article[ii] Mr O’Mara says that lots of regular, high tempo walking confers many health benefits. He says, “We all should know walking is good for heart health. Walking is also good for gut health, helping the passage of food through the intestines. Regular, up-tempo walking acts as a brake on the ageing of our brains.

“Walking facilitates creativity, improves mood, and sharpens our thinking. Aerobic exercise after learning actually enhances recall. Reliable, regular exercise produces new cells in the part of the brain concerned with learning and memory”.

Well this is great news for dog owners and walkers! Home and pet sitters can tap into the health benefits of walking too as when they are on assignment they will be doing regular daily walks if they are looking after dogs.

One of the attractions of the role for many for our homesitters is spending time with dogs and they are turning to homesitting as a way of getting their ‘dog fix’. Some have had dogs in the past and miss their company.

Most of our homesitters are retired and don’t want the commitment that comes with owning a dog, so becoming a homesitter is the next best thing.

In fact, for one of our homesitting couples, retired policeman Malcolm Horsup and his wife, Sue, one of the main motivators for them becoming homesitters is their love of dogs.

The couple first started homesitting in October 2013 after they retired. Whilst the couple have never owned a dog together, Sue owned a couple of Dobermans in the past. They would both now really like to get a dog but because they travel so much it just wouldn’t work for them.

Malcolm said “Being homesitters allows us to get our ‘dog fix’ every winter and all the sits we have done have been for people who have dogs. We’ve looked after some amazing dogs including German Shepherds, Labradors and three Italian Spinone. Being a homesitter is the next best thing to actually owning a dog and allows us to spend quality time walking and being around them.”

So if you want to increase the amount you walk this year, why not consider becoming a home and pet sitter? Even if dog walking isn’t your thing, many homesitters take on the role as it gets them out and about exploring new areas of the UK.

Find out more about becoming a homesitter in 2020 by clicking here.

[i] https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jul/28/its-a-superpower-how-walking-makes-us-healthier-happier-and-brainier

[ii] https://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/how-walking-makes-us-healthier-happier-and-smarter-38369755.html

Dog Walker


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