Exercise is important for our health and happiness, and getting active with your pooch can provide many benefits for you both. In this article, Kathryn Eccles from country and pet supply store Millbry Hill shares her insight into why we should include our furry friends in our exercise regimes.
This New Year, getting fit may be one of your goals. In fact, research showed that exercising more and eating healthier were the UK’s top resolutions for 2019, with 59% and 54% of respondents naming these as their focus for the year (today.yougov.com). And, with annual National Obesity Awareness Week starting on the second Monday in January, it’s the perfect time to start making positive choices for the benefit of your health.
It’s much easier to commit to a resolution if you don’t do it alone. Workout performance can increase by up to 200% with a partner (acefitness.org), and who better to work out with than your most loyal companion? Exercising with a pet is not only fun but it has a ton of benefits for your health and wellbeing too. Below, I’ll take you through five reasons why you should be getting fit with your dog.
It can help you bond
Dogs are very social animals. In fact, wild dogs live and hunt in packs. So, by taking your pooch out to exercise with you, you get to spend more time together and strengthen your bond. This can make your dog more loyal, respond better to discipline, and can even help them to be better behaved if they’re prone to naughty behaviour.
It can boost your mental health
Interacting with a pet can do wonders for your mental health (mentalhealthfoundation.org.uk) and running or doing other exercises can help boost your mood if you’re feeling low (helpguide.org). You know your dog loves spending time with you, and the exercise will raise your endorphins which will make your runs out together a happy memory for you both. Plus, it’s always more fun getting fit with company, even if your friend is of the four-legged variety.
It can get you outside
Heading outside with your dog can have all sorts of benefits, even without heavy exercise. The natural light and vitamin D can improve your mood, concentration, and possibly even your ability to heal from pain and stress (health.harvard.edu), so even a gentle stroll outdoors can boost your health and happiness.
It can make socialising easier
Exercising with your pooch is also a perfect way to make friends. Dog fitness classes are great for socialising with other dogs and owners, but even just a walk around the park is an opportunity to socialise if you have your pooch in tow. You’ll soon see how much friendlier people will be and how much braver you will feel with your pet by your side.
It can motivate you
If you’ve ever committed to a diet or exercise regime before, you’ll know how much easier it can be to reach your goals if you do it in tandem with somebody else. By including your dog, you’ll have more of a reason to go out and exercise because you’ll be letting down your furry friend if you don’t. Plus, once you get into a routine, your dog will come to expect you to take them out which will make it even harder to say no.
It’s good for your dog
Dogs don’t just love walkies — they need them. Dogs can suffer all sorts of problems due to a lack of sufficient exercise just as easily as humans can, and because they’re so much smaller than us, it can be easy for us to forget just how much exercise they actually need. To keep obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other issues at bay, include your dog in your exercise routine and take them for walks at least once a day.
These are just some of the reasons you should be exercising with your dog. Whichever way you choose to get fit this year, do it together and you’ll both feel the benefit.