Walk dog, get fit.
We are a nation of overweight and obese humans and dogs. Seventy percent (70%) of Americans and fifty percent (50%) of our dog companions fall into this category. That is seven out of ten people and one of two dogs who tip the scales in this unhealthy red-zone. Is there an easy, practical solution to this health epidemic?
Scientific studies have proven countless times that regular physical exercise improves health. Although having the best intentions, many people struggle to stick with fitness programs. One big problem is squeezing regularly scheduled fitness classes into hectic personal schedules. Unfortunately, these scheduling conflicts can actually cause stress instead of relieving it. The solution is to fit exercise around your busy schedule, rather than trying to fit your busy schedule around exercise.
The secret to your fitness success may be as simple as regularly walking your dog. Not surprising, those who walk their dogs for as little as 30 minutes daily significantly lower the risk of many diseases, including obesity. Moreover, humans who regularly associate with dogs experience reduced stress and anxiety, lowered blood pressure, improved overall heart health, relief from depression and enhanced self-esteem, just to name a few observable health benefits. Their companionship provides a sense of courage and confidence for those less than comfortable in social situations.
The Health benefits of regular exercise are not just for humans. Regular walks and workouts will nourish the heart, mind and soul of humans and dogs alike. Investing time and energy in your dog will give you a friend, companion and workout partner who exemplifies motivation and perseverance to keep you going, even in the toughest times.
This article first appeared in the July 2015 issue of PetGazette and is reprinted in support of April’s Canine Fitness Month. Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD, offers concierge dog training through Lucky Dog Training and has over 30 years of dog training experience in disciplines including obedience, tracking, agility, sheepherding, dock diving and fieldwork.