Public health scientist Jackie Epping jokingly calls a dog “an exercise machine with hair,” but this U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention professional is serious about the beneficial health effects of exercising with one’s pet. She notes, “Dogs need exercise for many of the same reasons that we [humans] do.” Inactive animals can become obese and develop chronic diseases such as diabetes that are usually associated with people.
If you have a loving pet, return that love by exercising with them. You’ll promote a healthy, active lifestyle for both of you.
Dogs can be great motivators. Alone, you may decide that it’s too hot or cold or you’re too busy to exercise. If your dog expects to go for a walk, you’ll be more likely to put away the excuses and pick up the leash. Walking a dog also is a great way for people who are older or who live alone to establish social contacts with their dog-walking neighbors.
For these and many other physical and mental health reasons, when you exercise with your pet, you’re definitely barking up the right tree.