If you have a dog and are not walking it daily, shame on you! Walking your dog is great exercise for you, and your dog. Besides, unlike friends who may want to skip an exercise session because something more important has come up, that will never be the case with Fido.
If you don’t have a dog, and you want to get into shape and lose some weight, getting a dog will permanently change your daily exercise habits. We recommend that you get a rescue animal, as they tend to be super loyal.
A survey of dog owners, conducted at the University of Western Australia and published in Health Promotion Journal of Australia in August 2008, revealed that dogs are great motivators for walking because they:
- Provide a strong motivation to maintain a program
- Are good walking companions
- Provide good social support when exercising
Dog walking is a great way to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle program
Researchers at the University of Western Australia found that seven in every 10 adult dog owners achieved 150 minutes of physical exercise per week, compared with only four in every 10 non-owners. Among new dog owners monitored for one year, recreational walking increased by an average of 48 minutes per week.
Establish a walking schedule; plan to walk a minimum of 30 minutes total each day. This might include a 10-minute neighborhood walk in the morning and a 20-minute romp at the dog park after work. Or maybe three 10-minute walks or one 30-minute walk. Dog walking is a great way to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle program.