Studies have continually shown that working out with a partner increases your motivation and the likelihood that you will actually stick to your training program. But finding a reliable, training partner who’ll motivate you consistently and never cancel is a challenge. We know of a partner who will never come to you with “I’m tired”, “I’m busy”, “I’m not feeling well”… and that’s your very best friend – the family dog!
- You’re healthier for owning a dog: Studies are now proving that dog owners are more likely to exercise regularly and to be fitter and healthier than their pooch-free peers. New research from Michigan State University reports that people with canine companions are 34% more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week than are folks with either other pets or none at all.
- Dogs can do more for you than a treadmill: A big part of motivation is that when you interact with your dog, endorphins rise and stress levels fall. This emotional connection definitely gives an extra boost to your workout.
- You’re more active because of your dog: Research shows that dog owners often log in twice as many workouts—they don’t see taking the dog out as a sweat session, so they still spin and lift. A University of Missouri study found that overweight participants who walked dogs for 20 minutes five days a week for a year lost an average of 14 pounds. If you include some light jogging, frisbee throwing, and tug of war, you can rev your metabolism up even more!
- Your pooch will push you: You will never find anyone more excited to workout than your dog- so much so that studies reported that people who walked with their dogs increased their speed by 28 percent over 12 weeks, while those who strolled with a human friend got only 4 percent faster. Your dog will never complain or be discouraged!
- Dogs will keep you on a routine: Dogs are creatures of habit- which means that even if you try and forget to go on a regular morning run, you’re dog won’t, he will let you know in his way that it’s time to get off the couch.
- Try new activities: Dogs love adventure, many will love to hike, bike, swim, or even watch you while you do bootcamp!
- Borrow a dog: Even if you can’t own a dog because of where you live, or don’t want the responsibility, you can still get the health and emotional benefits by volunteering at a shelter and walking/playing with the dogs and fostering them on the weekends.
- Listen to your dog: Some breeds are more active than others so it’s important to watch for sign of exhaustion in your dog and listen to his needs. Try not to run on very hot black pavement and make sure he stays hydrated and happy!