Did You Know
Science has actually proven your pooch is the perfect motivator to get you in motion. A report from Michigan State University reveals that people with canine companions are 34% more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week than those with other types of pets or no pets at all. And it makes sense—Dr. Rebecca Johnson, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Missouri and coauthor of Walk a Hound, Lose A Pound: How You And Your Dog Can Lose Weight, Stay Fit, and Have Fun Together says, “A dog can do more for you than a treadmill. When you interact with a dog, endorphins rise and stress levels fall. The emotional connection gives [your workouts an extra boost.]”
- Dog Owners Move More: If you give Fido a walk and then still do your regular workout, you’re getting extra exercise. If you keep a moderate pace while walking him you can burn up to 68 calories in 20 minutes. A study from the University of Missouri found that overweight people who walked dogs for 20 minutes five days a week for a year lost an average of 14 pounds.
- Your Dog Is Seriously The Best Motivator: You’ve seen how excited Spot gets when you reach for his leash. Dog trainer J.T. Clough says, “A dog is always ready and willing to go.” The University of Missouri study found that people who walked with their dogs increased their speed by 28 percent over 12 weeks, while those who walked with a human friend only increased their speed four percent.
- He’ll Hold You To A Training Schedule: Once your pup is used to getting up at a certain time for a run, he’ll have no problem waking you up with a nudge of his wet nose. Adorable puppy eyes and sloppy kisses sure beat that blaring alarm clock any day of the week!
- He’s Built For Adventure: Don’t limit yourself to just walking or running. Dogs are great swimming, biking, and in-line skating companions. Additionally, there are now dog-friendly boot-camp classes popping up across the country. So step out of your comfort zone, and keep your best friend by your side!
Play It Safe
- Cut The Chase: If your dog is the squirrel-chasing type you should be careful if you’re biking or in-line skating with him. Practice first in a parking lot where you can hone in training cues to keep you and your dog safe.
- Know The Breed: Know that certain breeds are more athletic than others. Dogs with flat noses can have trouble breathing when exercised vigorously, especially in warmer climates. Also, large dogs are more prone to ligament injuries, arthritis and hip dysplasia. A lot of running can be hard on their joints, so make sure your pup is conditioned before jogging long distances together.
- Consider Spot’s Age: Sustained jogging and running is not recommended for dogs under 18 months old, as their bones haven’t finished growing just yet. If your dog has reached his golden years, know that certain conditions can cause strenuous exercise to be painful. Plus, your older dog’s joints may not longer be able to handle certain exercises like they used to. Not all dogs need a cardio boot camp - - but light, easy moving will make everyone feel good!
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