This professional dog walker posted above is clearly adorable, but I want to talk about adorable human dog walkers and how they can stay healthy while out on their walks! You may not think that dog walking is a demanding job because in a lot of ways it's the best and easiest job ever. You get paid to exercise outside with cute little critters by your side. Dog walking is a wonderful job yet, it's more important than you may have originally thought to take care of yourself and make sure you're healthy in order to do the job well.
I can tell you that as a Chicago dog walker in the Old Town Neighborhood area, I walk to and from each of my dogs and then proceed to take each one out on their walk. I discovered from using the free Walklogger app on my phone that I walk 13 miles every day of the week. (I've turned into a little athlete with muscle legs!) So one of the most important things you can do as a dog walker is to invest in a wonderful yet, perhaps expensive pair of tennis shoes that support your feet and ankles in order to keep your joints happy. (I bought a Brooks tennis shoe which is perfect for supporting my high arch and ankles.) Believe me, I've walked in unsupportive shoes before and have had trouble walking when I got home because my joints were so angry with me. Another thing that will help your joints while you're walking is to stretch every morning before you start your route. This way your legs won't tighten up as much or cramp. That Chicago cement is hard and your knees and ankles can't take it unless you're prepared or superhuman.
So 13 Miles is a lot and that's why it's important to make sure you get a full night's sleep or you will be struggling during your walk. Another thing that can make you drag around like a zombie on your walk is lack of food and water. When you're burning that many calories a day, you need to make sure you have a snack/lunch with you. Also dehydration is not fun. Make sure you have a water bottle and keep drinking throughout the day. If I'm way tired, I like to sometimes grab those Starbucks Refresher drinks that have green coffee in them. They give me a burst of energy!
Also I don't know about you, but I am the palest of them all. No, no. Not the fairest of them all, palest of them all. This is why it's important for myself and any dog walker spending around six hours a day outside to slap on some sunscreen. I like to use a sunscreen without chemicals in it like Arbonne Mineral Sunscreen and I also like Aveda's sunscreen as well. Don't worry, you will still get a tan, (unless have ghost skin like me that reflects the light back into the sky) but you will also be protecting your skin and be feeling a lot happier later.
Then last, but not least is the lovely gift of the freaking cold and heat that our Chicago thoughtfully throws in our faces. That Chicago wind is a beast with a mind of it's own. I will let you in on a secret though. The winter dog walks are not that horrible if you are prepared and dressed correctly. I like to wear a long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, big down coat, leggings under my jeans, thick socks, thick boots with great traction and a furry lining, a knit SIT beanie, gloves, and occasionally a face mask. So just those few things, but really, all of those layers make a walk so much more doable and enjoyable than without them. A lot of times I even get hot in negative degrees because I'm speed walking everywhere. You can also buy these Heat Factory disposable warm packs. They are these wonderful little packs that you activate by pushing around the material in your hands until they heat up and keep your hands warm. You can also stick them in your shoes, but I like to keep them in my gloves.
As far as heat goes, basically strip down to what is legal and remember to slap on that sunscreen. Wear clothes that breathe. I hope this all helps!
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