Dogs, not diamonds, are a girl’s best friend – especially when tapping into Fido’s seemingly endless energy as your new workout buddy. Studies have shown that canine owners are more likely to exercise regularly and be more fit and healthier than their pooch-free peers. Research from Michigan State University reports that people with canine companions are 34 percent more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week than are folks with other pets (sorry, kitties) or none at all.
In fact, a 2005 study at the University of Missouri-Columbia encouraged participants to begin by walking 10 minutes a day, three times each week. Over time, they gradually increased to 20 minutes per day, five times each week. Researchers found that the study group not only averaged a weight loss of 14 pounds, but they also enjoyed the experience so much that they voluntarily continued to increase their exercise duration during the one-year program.
How does a dog do more for you than a treadmill?
When you interact with a dog, endorphins rise and stress levels fall. This emotional connection gives an extra boost to your workouts. A dog is always ready and willing to go. Unlike a neighbor or even your most reliable friend, your pooch never cancels on you at the last minute, complains about being tired or backs down from rain or snow. Dogs are creatures of habit – once Fifi gets the hang of your daily workout regime, she will persistently “remind” you that it’s time to go out and play.
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