If you’re a dog owner, you may already have everything you need to get an amazing daily workout – or two – without having to spend a penny on fitness equipment. While you may be thinking that this is only a reference to the number of walks you could – and likely should – be taking with your furry family member, there’s actually more to it than that.
Walking is a great way to get your exercising started. If you’re not walking to exercise with your dog every day, begin today. Even if you’re out there for only fifteen minutes at the start, it’s something. This is important to both you and your dog. Over time, you can build to longer walks as you increase both your fitness and that of your pooch.
You should also know that your dog will help your fitness on some other very surprising levels. For one thing, just petting your dog is great for your health. Research has shown that interacting with a dog can help to fight stress and the unconditional love you receive in return reduces the risk of depression.
Together, these can help lower cortisol levels in the body. That stress hormone is known for making it harder to lose weight and easier to gain. If you are exercising for weight management then getting your cortisol levels under control will only work to your advantage. In fact, that claim has been backed up by the results of a new University of Alberta study.
As if that wasn’t enough, your dog might actually help you to stay healthier. Recent research has shown that the germs carried by your dog can actually give your body an added boost. The oscillospira and ruminococcus germs that are commonly found on dogs are associated with a reduced risk of allergic disease and obesity in humans. In fact, when a baby is in the same house as dogs, that infant is more likely to grow up into an adult with a stronger gut microbiome and a reduced risk of obesity and disease caused by allergic reaction.
A recent meta analysis determined that people who have more oscillospira in their guts are also likely to be more trim with more lean muscle mass on their bodies. This isn’t just handy when it comes to weight management, but is also a factor in building a strong and able body. This can help to boost your physical and active performance and can reduce your risk of injury while you’re exercising.
So if you’ve been thinking of your dog as nothing more than a big, furry, adorable lazy lump, then it’s about time for a change of perspective. You not only have a best friend in your canine pal, but a home gym, too!