BY WENDY M. HENRICHS
Board certified chiropractic pediatrician and nutrition counselor
There has been plenty written regarding the health benefits of owning a dog. Things like lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol and triglycerides, reducing stress, increasing happiness and increasing the level of cardiovascular health and fitness, to name a few. What would improve if we lived more like a dog?
Get outside: Dogs love the outdoors despite the weather. They just want to sniff the fresh air and feel the ground under their feet. Get outside more and enjoy all that nature has to offer. It will lower your stress and get you moving more. This will improve your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Get regular exercise: There’s a saying that a tired dog is a happy dog. Dogs love to be moving, running and playing. They don’t think about whether they should or not today, they just do it. It is part of who they are. What if daily exercise was as common as brushing your teeth or your morning cup of coffee? Not only would it help with weight control, but also lower your stress hormone, cortisol, along with all the other benefits of exercise.
Live in the moment and forget about the past: Dogs live in the moment. They have forgotten about you scolding them for being naughty and just want to love you up. What if you were present in the moment with your spouse, your kids or your job? What if instead of dwelling on what has happened which you cannot change, you lived fully right now? The result would be a happier and more productive YOU. We only have so many moments before we die so take a lesson from our furry friends and live each moment like it’s your last.
Love unconditionally: Dogs give and receive love unconditionally. They don’t judge and don’t hold grudges. Dogs are always there for us in the good times and in the bad. We humans could learn a lot from our fur babies on this one.
Eat when you’re hungry: Dogs eat when they are hungry and stop when they are satisfied. Dogs have very little problem with weight control except when we humans feed them too many treats and snacks. Dogs eat for sustenance and less for pleasure. I am not suggesting that we take the enjoyment out of a great meal, but what if we listened to our bodies more and ate to live rather that live to eat.
Rest when you’re tired: Dogs can go from playing hard to dropping down for a nap in the blink of an eye. Dogs rest when they are tired or sick instead of pushing through. When a dog wakes up it is ready to play hard again – a good example of listening to our bodies and giving them what they need at the time. Take a siesta every once in awhile and reap the benefits of more energy for the rest of the day. Your body heals and rejuvenates with rest.
Play and have fun: This is a dog’s life. They are all about having fun and play followed by more play. When is the last time you played and had fun? Having fun releases endorphins our happy chemicals, which reduces our stress hormones, lowers our blood pressure and decreases pain, to name a few. Hopefully you take time every day for the things you love, that are fun and that bring happiness to your life.
If you only choose one of these things that dogs do, your life will improve. I did not have any pets growing up; it was only recently that I got a dog – life changer for me. I did not know what I was missing. Having a dog has taught me all the things I listed and more. In return I am a healthier, happier, better version of myself.
Dr. Wendy Henrichs is a board certified chiropractor and nutrition counselor at Timber Land Chiropractic in Rhinelander. For a complimentary chiropractic, nutrition or lifestyle counseling consultation, visit TimberlandChiropractic.com, Facebook, or call 715-362-4852.