March 28th, 2012

Dog walking is good for you?

There’s nothing more refreshing than taking your dog out for a walk on a crisp spring morning. However, what starts off as some “good for you” gentle exercise can leave you feeling a little sore and even injured. At no other time would you consider completing a dynamic movement such as throwing a ball as far as you can with no warm up and no stretching but when walking your dog, you don’t give it a second thought.

Solihull Chiropractor Lianne Griffiths explains:

“With an energetic boxer I know how hard it can be to keep a dog well behaved by the side of you. When the arm is stretched out in front of you the muscles of the back and shoulder are not as strong as if the arm was to the side of you and slightly bent. As a result when you try to pull or dog back (under control) we put significant pressure on the upper back, shoulder and neck areas. Obviously if all our dogs were perfect little angels we could just get them to walk by the side of us and put less stress on the upper body. As this is not always possible we recommend doing some warm up movements such as circular arm rotations and stretching before you take your dog for a walk.

Another common complain I see is dog owners who have thrown the ball and as a result developed acute shoulder and neck pain. Throwing sticks (where the stick is used as an extra leaver to launch the ball) are great in reducing the amount of movement needed to throw the ball. I also stress to my chiropractic patients to remember you are not in an Olympic ball throwing competition and your dog won’t hold it against if you throw it a little shorter than usual. Warming up as stated above can help but it is important to ease yourself in the movement of throwing the ball.”

So to avoid an unnecessary visit to your local chiropractor remember to warm up the upper body before taking your dog walking.