If you own a dog, you've probably realized by now that they're the best workout buddies. They'll never bail on your morning walk and always excited to join you. Many people need some outside motivation to work out, or need someone to hold them accountable for sticking to a regular exercise routine. Well, guess who won't let you sleep in? Your doggo.
Research has shown that dog owners are more active than those without dogs.
A study conducted by Michigan State University revealed "Owning a dog indicated a large, potentially health improving, average effect of 22 minutes additional time spent walking daily, in older adults."
Exercising with your fur friend has an astonishing number of health benefits.
Owning a dog can enrich the lives of humans. You and your dog can reap the benefits of regular exercise, including lower cholesterol, improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, joint health and improved muscle tone.
Exercise releases those “feel good” endorphins, which helps to relieve stress and anxiety. According to Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, a veterinarian and clinical instructor at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, exercise decreases anxiety in dogs. “Because exercise decreases anxiety overall, lack of exercise can contribute to anxiety-based conditions,” she says. “More specifically, lack of exercise and mental stimulation can lead to attention-seeking and destructive behaviors.”
Your mind gets a workout too!
Switching up activities with your canine companion can provide valuable mental stimulation and relieve boredom. When you introduce an interactive exercise, you're challenging the brain to learn something new. Are you and your pup ready for a challenge? Agility, Flyball, and AKC Rally are exciting competitions that incorporate physical, mental, and obedience skills.
Activities with your dog strengthens your bond.
Actively playing with your pup and spending valuable one-on-one time builds trust and a stronger companionship. You may notice your dog is more obedient and eager to listen.
A healthy dog is a happy dog. Happy dog = happy human.
Looking for engaging sports and activities for you and your doggo to try? Here's a list of fun activities for some inspiration: Doga (yep, dog yoga), K9 Fit Club, AKC Rally, Bikejoring, Agility, Flyball, Dock Diving, Cani-cross, Skijoring, Tracking, IPO, Disc, Hiking, Running, and Swimming.
Before your dog begins an exercise program, be sure to visit your veterinarian for a health check. Your vet can recommend an appropriate amount and type of physical activity for your dog's age, breed and condition.
Check out these impactpups and their favorite sports:
"We love bikejoring!" -Jackie L.
"Hiking!" -Eryn P.
"Trail ride and Ziva is a good photo-bomber!" -Paula Zan McCollum-C.
"Tracking!" -Sarah Naia S.
"Stick fetching while mom gets some sun" -Jessica B.
"Nosework is our favorite mental exercise" -Jennifer L.
"Arrow says he loves water and playing fetch so dock diving is one of his all time favorite things to do!" -Chris R.
"Field work fridays!" -Megan M.
"Hiking in the mountains, so we can run crazy" -Hillary E.
"My guy is really enjoying level 1 agility!" -Sky M.