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Sharp Health News

Every day is a doggone good day for a walk

Dec. 31, 2020

Woman with mask walking her dog on a leash

What does your dog have to do with improved circulation, longer life, lowered Alzheimer's disease risk and a good night's sleep? More than you would think.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), having a dog provides several health benefits in addition to a lot of unconditional love. Your dog helps you improve your cardiovascular health, increase the amount you exercise and decrease your likelihood for obesity. Your pup can even enhance your mood and social life, especially during California's current stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Dogs also offer an endless supply of kisses, greet you at the door like you've been gone for a year, and work as living vacuum cleaners around the dinner table.

So, why not do something for them in return? It's as simple as taking your dog for a daily walk in San Diego's perennially sunny weather.

Aim for a 30-minute walk with your canine companion each day. You get the health and wellness benefits, and your dog gets to run, jump, play and sniff.

City of San Diego-approved leash-free locations
To make it even more fun and interesting, you can head to a local dog park. The City of San Diego offers several leash-free locations. All of the following dog parks are currently open, though city officials ask that you maintain a safe social distance of at least 6 feet from other park visitors and wear a facial covering, for your safety and theirs.

  • Balboa Park, Balboa Drive at El Prado and Nate's Point, south side of Cabrillo Bridge 
  • Cadman Community Park, 4280 Avati Drive in Clairemont
  • Capehart Park, Soledad mountain Road and Felspar Street in Pacific Beach
  • Charles L. Lewis III memorial Park, 43750 Home Ave. in City Heights
  • Dog Beach, at the foot of Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach
  • Doyle Community Park, 8175 Regents Road in University City
  • Dusty Rhodes Neighborhood Park, 2469 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. in Ocean Beach
  • Fiesta Island, 1750 Fiesta Island Road
  • Grape Street Park, 1998 28th St. in south Park
  • Kearny Mesa Community Park, 3170 Armstrong Street
  • Maddox Neighborhood Park, 7815 Flanders Street in Mira Mesa
  • Nobel Park, 8820 Judicial Drive in University City
  • Rancho Bernardo Park, 18448 West Bernardo Drive
  • Rancho Peñasquitos Park, Salmon River Road and Fairgrove Lane
  • Torrey Highlands Park, corner of Lansdale Drive and Del Mar Heights Road
  • Ward Canyon Neighborhood Park, 3905 Adams Ave. in Normal Heights
Dogs are also allowed on City of San Diego beaches after 4 pm from Nov. 1 to March 31 (after 6 pm from April 1 to Oct. 31) and during early morning hours until 9 am, but must be licensed and leashed.

And remember to be prepared to pick up after your pet when out for a walk or visiting parks or beaches, and dispose of any "potty" materials in a proper trash receptacle.

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