Keeping a dog comes with a long list of benefits. It improves your mood, beats loneliness, lowers stress, and keeps you active.
Want to know how you can maximize the health benefits?
It’s easy. Start a running routine with your dogs and it will improve your health (and the dog’s health) in more ways than you can imagine.
Let’s have a look:
You can reap the health benefits by simply having a dog at home. An extensive study of more than 3.4 million people confirms dog ownership is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and more importantly, a lower mortality. It improves your stress response and decreases blood pressure.
Running with your dog can take these benefits to the next level. It can actually add up to 7 years to your life. This is because running can transform your physical and mental health for good. This meta-analysis of more than 70 studies shows that running can lift your mood, boost metabolism, control blood sugar, strengthen your joints, and lower the risk of major diseases.
People who regularly walk or run with the dogs are less likely to be obese. Maintaining a healthy weight will save you from health issues like heart diseases, diabetes, or osteoarthritis.
High blood pressure is another serious problem that we are facing. In the US alone, 1 out of 3 adults suffers from high blood pressure. It can seriously damage your heart, brain, and kidneys. Luckily, running with your dog can be as good as medicine for hypertensive people. It is one of the best preventive measures.
Spending some time with your dog can lower the heart rate and help you relax. If you are suffering from a serious condition like schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety, dogs can be trained to serve as the psychiatric assistant.
But things will get even better if you are taking your dog out for a walk of running. Running is considered to be as good as the antidepressant and there are no side effects. Just 20 minutes of running or walking can improve your mood.
You don’t have to be suffering from depression or mental issues to get the mental benefits. Regular physical activity will improve your response to day-to-day stressors and challenging situations. You will be a lot more positive.
And you will perform better as a student or professional. Research has shown that running improves the ability to learn and memorize when compared to any other recreational activity.
Dogs are great companions. So much that every 3 in 10 people prefer their pets over partners. Getting a pet protects you from the perils of loneliness, which can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
But why keep it to you and your dog?
You can make new friends by going out with your dog. Your social life will improve because dog owners who take their dogs for a walk are seen as friendly people. Running will also boost your self-esteem and you will feel more confident around people.
Running with your dog is better than running alone in many ways.
First, you will have extra motivation to go out because your dog will love the outing. Unlike a human partner, your dog will never try to make excuses for not going.
Also, running with your dog is more demanding than normal running. The dogs do not usually run at the same pace or the same direction all the time. Running behind them and pulling them to keep on track will be more challenging.
On the other hand, running with your dog will also serve as protection against animals or getting mugged.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, up to 59% of cats and dogs are overweight. Obesity is equally harmful to your pets. It can actually reduce their lifespan. AAHA recommends maintaining exercise and physical activity to deal with pets’ obesity.
Running will take care of the obesity problem and it will also improve their joints, digestive, and cardiovascular health. It is also good for their mental health and behavior because they will enjoy new sights and smells.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is more important than ever. Dogs can be a great help because they love running, hiking, and even swimming. Isn’t that what you want?
Guest Article by Sadi Khan