There are so many reasons why a dog makes life more wonderful! (And I know, some may be thinking--yeah, and there are so many reasons why it would also make it awful!) As a personal trainer and fitness instructor for the past 25 years, I've seen a lot of fitness fads come and go and I've also seen a lot of injured people who bought into those fad workouts. But there's one thing you can always do to keep moving and active well into old age with a low risk of injury--get a dog that needs to be walked, right? And likes to run and have fun! Two times a day that beast has got to move in order to stay healthy and keep the joints and metabolism humming along. This is great news for you 9-5 desk sitters and home couch potatoes--now you have a more-than-just-you-reason to get outside, move those limbs, be active, soak up some sun rays (vit D!) and breath fresh air. And as we head into cold weather and that first frigid wave that hits you as you go out the door, having a great reason not to just hibernate and eat bon-bons during the season is going to pay off big-time when you move past the holidays into the New Year--maybe you won't have to make that resolution to start exercising again!
Not only are dogs loyal and consistently crazy about you, but they're also dependent on you daily--and that's a 2-way street. Many studies have concluded that people that own dogs are healthier physically, mentally and emotionally and that the average amount of steps a dog-owner takes are twice as much as those who are beast-less! That's a LOT more steps. And that means heart healthy weight control, stress reduction and getting to know the people in your neighborhood.
A Tufts University study showed that those who had a strong connection to pets also had stronger community and relational ties. I know when I tool around my hood with my Henry, it becomes a time to greet other dog owners with their best friends in tow. Its an activity that can also be precious catch-up time for friends and loved ones. Research has shown that having a pet to take care of helps us learn to communicate and discern needs in different ways and makes us more empathetic to others--animals and humans.
And who doesn't become happier just looking at a dog be a dog? Honestly, it's cheap entertainment! My dog Henry (and his friends in the neighborhood) make me laugh so much-- and finding humor anytime, but especially when there seems to be a lot in the world to be anxious about, just seals the deal for me. Here's a fun fact for you-- Wolves won't meet eyes with humans, but dogs will!
An added bonus for pet owners? Having a fur-ball around to share the ups and downs of life with leads to reduced stress levels, including blood pressure and heart-rate. People that have dogs, especially the elderly, are four times less likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression than their dog-less counterparts. They help us recover from traumatic stress, and have been paired with returning PTSD vets and (as well as prisoners) to help them learn to engage more fully with family and friends, learning to trust and love again. Check out Paws for Purple Hearts, a great program that trains service dogs for those with combat-related injuries.
And seriously, if you're single, a dog is a magnet for babes and dudes! Studies show that having a dog beside you can make someone more attractive and more approachable. Just sayin'.....
Last but not least, dogs make us embrace the simple things in life. They slow us down when we're racing a mile a minute, they center us back to the real stuff when we can't stop thinking about our worries, and they tether us to what life is really meant for: simplicity, engaging each moment, each situation, person and....dog.
Please support Dog Rescue organizations in your area and your local pound! These animals are just waiting for a forever home with people who want to love and care for them--and rescues make the most awesome pets who express their gratefulness everyday in small and big ways. To find animal rescues and shelters in your area, click on this link .
Here's me and my rescue babe Henry, who came to us at 4 1/2 months old, thanks to my youngest son Dillon, and is constantly bringing lots of life, quirkiness and love to our family every day!
If you want to learn more ways to stay healthy and you're looking for an integrated approach to nutrition and fitness, I'm here for you! Ofcourse I'm a firm believer in an active lifestyle, but to really change your health for a lifetime takes more than just knowing the right foods to eat, and it's more than just counting or burning calories. It's about creating new habits and a mindset that honors and nurtures every part of yourself, and that's what my Holistic Coaching work is all about! My biggest passion in life is to help others become healthier and stronger in every way so they can bring everything they've got to the world around them. Contact me here