A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Mar 17, 2011

Save Gym Dues and Get a Dog

Another use for a treadmill!
There has been a lot of research touting the health benefits of having a dog, reduced stress, faster healing and stable heart rhythms to name a few.

Animal assisted therapy programs involving dogs visiting those confined to hospitals, homeless shelters, and prisons boast similar benefits. And now, the New York Times suggests that dog owners are more active over those people with no dogs. The article goes on to say that "if you are looking for the latest in home exercise equipment you may want to consider something with four legs and a wagging tail".

As someone who lives with both dogs and a treadmill, I can attest to the fact that I would rather interact with my dogs. Whereas I can ignore the treadmill, hang clothes on the frame and use its presence as an excuse to buy workout clothes - i can't ignore the dog. The dog needs to "do his/her business" in rain or shine, in sickness and in health and whether it's convenient or not.
Furthermore, the dog needs to do this every single day. (I will admit, there are days when I am exhausted and the weather is awful  that the treadmill begins to look good!)

As the growing obesity of Americans is a subject of national concern this study is timely and useful.  Walking a dog a few times a day is exercise. Taking the dog on hikes is exercise, and playing catch, tossing a Frisbee or participating in dog sports like agility or fly-ball is exercise. They are all activities that adults and responsible children can have fun with. It is also important to note that as pets are more obese than ever the benefits are mutual

There is great synergy here- increasing activity, health benefits and companionship while simultaneously decreasing the number of homeless pets in our midst.

Article first published as Save Gym Dues and Get a Dog on Technorati.

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