How owning a dog helps keep you in shape

Dog Company
Dog Company

How owning a dog helps keep you in shape

A lack of motivation is a common cause for people skipping out on going to the gym and exercising. If this is you, hiring a personal trainer is always an option to provide that much needed motivation. Or you can go with a more relaxed approach – by getting a pet dog!

Researchers found that dog owners get more exercise than people with gym memberships. But how exactly can dogs help you lead a better lifestyle? Keep on reading to find out 7 ways owning a dog can help you stay in shape.

1. Dogs help you become an early riser

Ever heard the saying “the early bird gets the worm?” Well, it’s true that early risers happen to be more productive than others. If you have trouble getting up in the morning, try making the pup your personal alarm clock. There is no way you can pull the blanket over your head and go back to sleep if your furry friend is looking at you with their adorable eyes.

Having a dog means leaving the bed early in the morning, putting on your shoes and getting moving. There’s no better habit that you can cultivate than starting the day early. Whether you get up and go to work or stay at home, starting the day earlier will allow you to get more done and not be as stressed out while getting ready to leave the house.

2. Dogs get you more exercise

This is probably the obvious benefit, but having a dog means more work for your legs. According to research conducted by the University of Victoria, Canada, it was found that dog owners are more likely to spend time doing moderate physical activities than non-dog owners.

They found that dog owners walked 300 minutes per week on average while non-dog owners averaged 168 minutes a week.

If you are looking for a more intense workout, you can try running with your dog. Breeds like Labradors make great running partners as they’re equal parts friendly and energetic. It’s close to impossible to outrun and outlast a lab.

3. They boost your mood

Staying in shape isn’t just about physical exercise, but also about elevating your mood. Dogs are naturally playful and will gladly indulge you in hours of petting and playtime if you’re up for it. In fact, we can safely conclude that playing with a pup is one of the most fun things you can do without spending a dime. If you have a smaller dog such as a Schnauzer, you will likely spend more time with them on your lap than walking by your side.

Just a few minutes of petting and playing is enough to release a variety of feel-good hormones like serotonin, oxytocin, and prolactin. These hormones not only reduce anxiety, stress, and depression, but also help you to see the world in a new light.

These chemicals are also related to motivation, so you’re essentially doubling up your motivation to get in shape. Playing and exercising with your dog should create a feedback loop of a positive and motivated mindset.

4. Dogs help you develop more stamina

The best thing about exercise is that the more you do it, the better your endurance gets. So, if you’re used to feeling exhausted after a 60-minute walk, you can bet that you won’t feel the same way after walking 60 minutes everyday for a month. You’ll soon find yourself extending your daily outings just to tire yourself and your dog out.

You can use an app to monitor the distance walked or steps taken, and we can guarantee that the chart will look impressive. A healthy cardiovascular system is key to staying in shape. The more stamina you have, the more enjoyable other physical activities will be.

5. They build up your immune system

Growing up with dogs has many distinct advantages, one of which happens to be a better immune system. One study found that those who grew up with dogs were less likely to get sick. Children who grow up with pets are less likely to develop allergies and asthma.

Now you can have better physical health without spending a dime on medicine or expensive food products. Think about how much money you’ll save by NOT visiting the doctor!

6. Work-life balance

In the fast-paced world of today, it’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race. I don’t have anything against workaholics; it’s just that the workaholic lifestyle leaves very little room for exercise and personal growth. After all, it is so easy to brush away the need to stick by the workout routine when there are other priorities.

However, having a dog often means forcing yourself to take a break from work to tend to his needs. Having a pooch not only gives you an excuse to give yourself some “Me Time” but also helps maintain a stable work-life balance.

7. You have a partner for new adventures

Dogs are more than willing participants in going on new adventures. Whether you are exploring a new campground or going on a challenging hike in the mountains, your four-legged friend will be enthusiastic about leading the way.

As much as you enjoy exploring new places, your dog will likely show you what enjoying the outdoors is really all about! If you’ve ever seen someone getting their dog out of their car at a trailhead, you’ll instantly see them exploring the new place and picking up all the new scents. The outdoors are basically an enormous dog park as far as your dog is concerned.

Are you ready to get a dog yet?

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, having a pup will also mean more socialization, making new friends, and having an improved mood. So, if you considered getting yourself a K9 buddy but just couldn’t find enough reason, now would be a great time to re-evaluate your decision.

Dogs not only help keep you in shape, they also boost your mood and improve your overall mental health. No matter the size of dog you want to get, they will enjoy going on outdoor adventures with you!

Kevin O’Donnell is a dog enthusiast and dog rescue volunteer. As the webmaster at he helps spread valuable information and advice about dog training, nutrition and health. He loves playing with his best friend, Buddy (a Japanese Chin/Papillon mix.


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