5 reasons your dog is the perfect fitness buddy
Are you a dog person? Or a cat person? The answer reveals a lot more about you – and, in particular, your health – than you might think. In an Australian study of 1,813 adults, for example, those with a canine companion were found to be 77 per cent more likely to chase down sufficient levels of physical activity than their pooch-less counterparts.
And that's far from all. Research has found your furry friend can bolster your wellbeing right across the board. Check out the handful of puppy pluses below – and keep your buddy protected with Petplan Pet Insurance.
She'll give your immune system more bark
Dogs are smelly and unhygienic. Even the most avid mutt-lover knows this. Look at your dog right now. She's doing something disgusting, isn't she?
No? Look again.
This is a good thing. See, we humans tend, as a rule, not to lick things off the floor. It's frowned upon. And it's this obsession with cleanliness – no sniffing other people's rears; no rolling in the mud; not even any shoe chewing – that has led our immune systems to become incapable of reacting properly to attacks from bad bacteria.
Your pooch, it's believed, acts like a probiotic, helping you develop healthy bacteria colonies that bolster your immune system and stop you getting sick.
Go on. Her tail's wagging. Give her a kiss.
She'll chase away heart problems
When you're around someone you love, you relax. Multiple studies have found that, when in the presence of your dog, your reaction to stress, your blood pressure and your release of adrenaline hormones all decrease. A half hour evening grapple on the sofa is enough to dispel the angst of the day.
A review of research undertaken by the American Heart Association a few years ago even led the august body – most often given to dry technical statements – to announce dog ownership was probably associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Don't get us wrong. Buy a chubby pug who'll accompany you only for pizza-bloated Netflix marathons and you're not going to stave off ticker trouble. But between daily walks, the stress relief of a scuffle and just how damn cute they look, puppying up sure beats statins.
She'll make you as fit as a butcher's dog
Don't underestimate the power of that daily walk, either. True, at a moderate pace, 20 minutes strolling only burns around 68 calories, but you'd be surprised how quickly that adds up.
A University of Missouri study, for one, found that overweight participants who undertook five 20-minute dog walks a week for a year lost an average of 14 pounds.
And that's before you turn her into your running partner…
She'll keep your running on track
Whether you're training for a marathon or simply trying to get out for a jog a couple times a week, it’s not only long distance runners that get lonely – and sticking to aroutine of solo sessions is never easy.
Enter Fido – the perfect training partner. She's ready to run whenever. She never forgets her kit. Best of all, she's a creature of habit, and far less likely to flake off your session in favour of another 30 minutes in bed.
A wet nose in your face, trust us, is a far better motivator than an alarm clock, too.
She needn't be a house guest
For many, owning a dog simply isn't possible. But that no longer means you need forgo the benefits enjoyed by those lucky enough to have a setup where a pooch is practical.
Services like Borrow My Doggy allow small flat-dwellers, singletons and busy city slickers alike to, as the name suggests, borrow a local dog once or a few times a week – and in the process get all the stress-reducing, fitness-improving, immune-system boosting benefits of dog owners.
Without, it’s worth noting, the fuzzy hair all over the living room and the saliva soaked chewy toys on the carpet. Bonus.