Saturday, April 2, 2011


I read an article recently reprinted from the New York Times about if you wanted a personal fitness trainer at home, then you should find yourself a dog.  The article described a number of research studies done on the benefits of having something with four legs and a wagging tail as a great home exercise equipment.  I couldn't agree more.  Having a dog that likes being active encourages me to be more active.  Sleeping in on weekends to a time that only teenagers get to indulge in or getting up later on a work day is not part of my regular routine.  It is a rare day for me to not walk the dog each morning.  Dogs are true believers in routines and going out for a walk is an important part of their routine.  My dog loves routine.  For most people, getting a dog increases your level of activity and you do clock more minutes of exercise versus a non dog owner.   There are some people who don't walk their dogs.  These dogs run around in the backyard and/or get walked by non family members.  

The dog knows when we are going for a walk regardless if it is part of the routine or not.  I can't figure out how he knows we are going for walk before I even start to put on my 'walking clothes'.  I try to be quiet or not give any clues but he reads signs that are not apparent to me!  

Highlights of the various research studies identified the following:

  • Dogs are powerful motivators to get people moving.
  • Dog walkers are more active overall than people who don't own dogs.
  • Older people are more likely to take regular walks if their walking companion is canine versus human.  Walking speed also increased in older dog walkers.
  • Dogs won't make excuses to skip a walk if it is hot, raining or cold outside.  Human walking companions might talk you out of going for a walk.
  • Dog walking doesn't replace other exercise you would have done otherwise.  Dog walkers had higher overall levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity, were more likely to participate in other physical activities and overall exercised more than people who did not own dogs. 
Need I say more as to support the benefits of dogs and their two legged companions getting more fit........

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