Exercise With A Dog

 

This article was written for Pet Guardian Angels of America by Mikkie Mills

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Time to Shape Up? Get a Dog!

If you’ve ever had a dog before, you know that they can be truly fantastic companions. If you haven’t, maybe you’re considering it but still need some convincing. Whatever your situation may be, here are four amazing ways having a four-legged friend can help whip you into shape and make you a healthier, happier person along the way.

You’ll Have More Get Up and Go

If you have a dog laying at your feet right now, you’re probably familiar with this scenario – it’s a rainy day and you’ve just settled down on the couch with snacks to binge watch a new show. Five minutes in, your dog starts nudging your leg. You try to pretend it’s not happening because you know what that means… he’s ready for a walk. No matter what the situation, your dog will be pretty hard to convince when it comes to making excuses why you can’t go. So get up, put on your sneakers and get outside. The extra steps will be great all around, and the couch will still be there when you get back. The best part… your dog will happily join you!

You’ll Lose Some Weight

Are you thinking about signing up for a road race in the near future, or are there other personal goals you’re hoping to set? Maybe you’re aiming to walk five afternoons a week, or maybe you’re wondering how to lose the water weight so your dress zips more comfortably before your cousin’s wedding next month. You know the drill – eat right and hydrate, supplement properly, and get plenty of rest and exercise. And when it comes to getting exercise, consider your dog your personal cheerleader! Not only will he not accept your attempts at laziness, he will be more than ready to join you on your next run and will probably keep you going for longer than you would have alone. You’ll be slimmed down in no time and enjoying your routine with your workout buddy.

Your Mental Health Will Improve

Did you know that dogs are wonderful for reducing stress, improving mood and increasing your overall emotional health? Most people can attest to physically feeling stresses of daily life. As it turns out, simply petting your dog is a great way to relieve this stress and anxiety because it helps to release the feel-good hormone Oxytocin. And for those otherwise living alone, having a dog can help to combat loneliness or feelings of isolation – in turn maintaining a better sense of mental well-being. And as a bonus – dogs are naturally social creatures, which means the chances of you making new connections greatly increases when you head out together. So next time you’re at the park with your dog, strike up a conversation or two. You never know where it will lead, but chances are you’ll leave feeling fulfilled.

Your Heart Will Thank You

By now you know that petting your dog releases Oxytocin, but did you know that it’s also very good for reducing blood pressure and alleviating excessive strain on your heart? When you consider that a healthy heart is what your body needs to survive, this is a pretty big deal. Of course it’s important to remember that there are so many other factors that contribute to or take away from your heart’s health, and focus on those as well. Bottom line? Strong heart, healthy life.

If you’re still weighing the pros and cons of welcoming a dog into your life, chances are reflecting on your current health could be one of the deciding factors. Imagine how great it would feel to be in better shape, lose weight, find a comfortable mental and emotional balance, improve your health and feel an overall sense of calm. While there’s no one way for all of this to happen, a dog could definitely push you in the right direction.

Mikkie Mills, is a freelance writer who often writes about family, home improvements and the occasional DIY project.