More than just a best friend, your dog can be the perfect personal trainer.
Most people can find many reasons to love and appreciate their dogs. They’re sweet, snuggly and fun – and if ever you need some unconditional love, they’re the perfect place to turn.
But if you’re looking for even more reasons to appreciate your furry companion, consider the fact that Fido may just be keeping you more active – which is good for your health.
If you have a dog or are thinking of adopting a sweet puppy anytime soon, chances are pretty good that you’ll meet the recommended Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans if you regularly walk your dog. Instead of joining a gym or enlisting your neighbor to be your workout buddy, you may just want to get a dog – or grab a leash and head outside if you already have one.
A study done at Michigan State University found 60% of dog owners who regularly walk their dogs met the criteria for regular moderate or vigorous activity. They averaged 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week. Only about a third of people without dogs got in that much exercise.
Not only do dog owners who walk their dogs walk more than non-dog walkers, but according to research, they may be more active overall. It makes sense that if your puppy needs to take a trip around the block to do his business, you’re more likely to get off the couch and go for a walk. But dog walkers are also more likely to be active doing other things, like gardening or playing sports.
Overall, dog walkers spend about 30 minutes more per week exercising than non-dog walkers. Not only do they move more, but another study found they are less likely to be obese than dog owners who don’t walk their dogs or those who don’t own a dog.
Dogs are the perfect personal trainers. Unlike your friend who vows to workout with you only to cancel because of other commitments or a lack of their own motivation, your dog will always be an enthusiastic walking companion.
So grab a leash to get moving more. Not only will the extra activity help improve your health, but it’s also good for the health and well-being of your dog.
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Date Last Reviewed: April 15, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS