Finding a Furry Fitness FriendPosted: Apr 24 in Weight loss by Dr. Lazarus
Why a dog may be the perfect addition to your exercise program
Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason. For thousands of years, they’ve been consistent and reliable companions, helping us hunt and herd, protect our homes and feel happy and loved. Years of breeding them to suit our needs have ensured that there’s a breed of dog out there for just about anyone—including those of us in Denver who are looking for ways to become more active as we lose weight.
As it turns out, a dog can be a great part of your weight loss support system and your exercise program. For many people, spending some time with a furry friend can be a huge stress reliever, while caring for an active dog is one surefire way to become more active yourself.
The Benefits of an Animal Companion
Most American households have at least one pet—and with good reason. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) caring for a pet can provide you with the following benefits:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Assuaged feelings of loneliness
- Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
- Increased opportunities for social activities
It looks like our ancient ancestors were onto something when they started selectively breeding dogs for domestic use more than 10,000 years ago. But if you don’t already have a dog, picking one from the glut of available options can be a difficult task.
Finding the Right Dog
Dogs come in all different shapes and sizes, with widely varied temperaments, personalities and needs. Many dogs have been bred to perform specific tasks like herding sheep or hunting ducks, which can play a big role in how they act and the kind of exercise they need.
If you’re looking for the perfect workout buddy, many dogs have seemingly endless energy reserves that will make them perfect as a walking or running partner. Loyal and always ready to go, your dog, unlike a human exercise partner, will never flake or fall-through on your workout. Many breeds require daily exercise to stay healthy (just like you), which can be a big motivator in getting you on your feet and outside for a walk.
Are you ready to start the process of finding the perfect furry friend? Here are some dogs with the winning temperament and energy that can be just what you need to reach your weight loss goals.
For Outdoor Enthusiasts: The Weimaraner
Sleek and energetic, these gray, short-haired pups originated in Germany as companions for hunting bears and deer. With impressive lung-power and endurance, these dogs are perfect for any wilderness excursion or off-the-grid workout. They can easily handle long distances and actually tend not to do well when cooped up in tight spaces. Getting a weimaraner outside regularly is tantamount to keeping it happy, making it the perfect dog for exercise motivation.
For Water Lovers: The Chesapeake Bay Retriever
If you’re looking for a dog to accompany you on walks, then look no further than this playful and affectionate breed. Just as comfortable in the water as out of it (they even have webbed toes), these dogs are commonly referred to as Chessies and will be more than able to come with you on a brisk walk, run, swim, boat ride—you name it. Low maintenance and family-friendly, Chessies are a smart choice for anyone who wants a reliable weight loss partner—especially if you like being near the water.
For Serious Exercisers: The Australian Shepherd
If you’re looking for a dog that will really push you, these doggies from down under should do the trick. As their name implies, they were initially bred to herd sheep, but are also devoted human companions and among the easiest breeds to train. However, the Australian Shepherd demands a highly active lifestyle and requires at least two to three hours of activity each day to stay healthy. This makes them one of the most likely breeds to drag you outside for a workout, but those who don’t have time for this much daily exercise may want to keep looking.
Of course, these are only three of countless dog breeds out there. Because any dog can be a great workout buddy, you just need to find one that suits your personality and individual needs. Once you find the right one, you’ll quickly learn how a dog can be a weight manager’s best friend.