Fitness with Fido: Health for Dog Owners
The best workout buddy is excited to follow you out the door, does not complain, pushes your motivation, never cancels on you, or puts you in the doghouse... While those may be difficult to live up to, your 4-legged pet might not just be your best friend, but the best workout companion!
Health Benefits of Owning a Dog
Increase Physical Health
Dogs' health is suggested to mirror those of their owner - inactive and overweight individuals essentially transcend those characteristics into their pet, with canine obesity increasing their own risk of heart and respiratory problems, diabetes, skeletal stress, and gastrointestinal disorders. Conversely, dog owners are suggested to be more active than non-dog owners, and more likely to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Obtain health and get active together by...
...taking a walk.
Tie the shoes and leash up for a walk! Whether around the neighborhood or a local park, walking has shown to offer a plethora of benefits, 21 of them in fact!
...heading to the trails.
If seeking a little more adventure, head to the trails and explore on a scenic hike. Getting out in nature is sure to excite not only you, but give your furry friend truly something to bark about!
...running around at the dog park.
Dog parks offer benefits to both owner and pet, as they offer the chance for both to socialize. Dogs can grow their ability to play around other dogs and interact with people, while owners can do the same. Dog parks generally tend to be fenced and gated, offering dogs the opportunity to run around energetically while offering you a peace of mind regarding their safety.
...playing fetch with the family.
Get the whole family involved with a big game of fetch! At the park or in the backyard, make an afternoon out of it by packing a nutritious lunch and enjoying the time spent altogether.
...hitting the water.
On a nice day, head to a body of water! The dogs will enjoy making splashes in the water while accompanying your workout on a standing paddleboard or sitting down in a kayak.
...signing up for a dog race.
Races are not just for human runners anymore! Based on sheer fun or a little competition between other owners and their dogs, get active by signing up for a dog race.
All-in-all, the physical benefits of owning a dog include weight loss, reducing heart disease risk, and warding off allergies. Additionally, canines may sniff and detect a chronic disease, assist in mobility, and soothe individuals with Alzheimer's disease.
Improve Mental Health
Although it is apparent coming home from work excites canines, they also offer great emotional benefits to their owners. In fact, research has shown playing with dogs can increase the brain's levels of the dopamine and serotonin, hormones associated to pleasure and tranquility. Along with a mood boost, owning a dog can relieve stress according to a number of studies conducted with married couples, college students, and critically ill patients. Dogs may further reduce depression risk and doctor visits by living a less stressful life!
Enhance Social Lives
Owning a dog has suggested to enhance social lives in a multitude of ways. First off, walking your dog places you in a likely social setting, encouraging you to converse with others, including run-ins with additional dog walkers. Taking your canine best friend to the dog park also stimulates conversation that may turn into lasting friendships for both owner and dog. And to others, owning and taking care of a dog demonstrates a willingness to take on responsibility. Isolated or retired individuals can also offer structure and a sense of purpose back into their lives by owning a dog!