For all its benefits, dog-walking can have at least one major health disadvantage: back trouble. On the one hand, a four-legged friend ensures the owner goes for regular walks, which helps strengthen the small of the back, where the spin curves in.
On the other, eager dogs can often pull on the owner’s back and cause injury, says orthopaedic surgeon Dr Reinhard Schneiderhan. That’s why it’s important to make sure the dog’s leash is long enough to avoid strain.
For anyone with back problems, it’s also important that the dog stays by your side, rather than racing ahead and forcing you to pull them back. If that doesn’t work, professional training can help.
Despite the risk of back trouble, pet owners can go ahead and count the walks they do with their pooches as their exercise, says Dr Schneiderhan. A person can even add stretching and strengthening exercises during the walk, like lunges or a quick round of push-ups against a park bench. – dpa