The saying goes that a dog is a man’s best friend… and not only can they be your best friend, but they can also be a great workout buddy! Have you ever wondered about the health benefits of having a dog in your life?
Devoted dog owners will tell you that they couldn’t live without their canine companions, and if you’re thinking about getting a dog, we’re here to tell you about how it can really help you physically and mentally.
Whilst you must make sure you’re getting a dog for all the right reasons (remember, a dog’s for life, not just for your morning jog), it's worth thinking about how a pooch can massively improve your everyday life. From the walkies to the grooming, and from playing to trying out some ridiculous/hilarious pet workouts, a dog will surely keep you healthy and active to live the best life you can (can you tell we’re big dog lovers?).
If you love to be active or are wanting to get more exercise, read on to see how a dog can get your heart pumping and benefit your life!
5 health benefits of having a dog in your life!
1. Helps to lower blood pressure
You don’t even have to get a dog to benefit - being near and around them has been proven to lower stress and blood pressure. A health benefit that dogs bring is that they can impact humans by just being petted, stroked and spoken to. Studies have shown that these interactions give the ‘pet effect’ (love a scientific term!) - monitoring blood pressure through various interactions with and without dogs present, the participants showed the lowest blood pressure when touching and talking to dogs. So…. office dog, anyone?
Tip: If owning a dog is out of the question, sign-up for dog-walking agencies, such as Borrow my Doggy, and see what local dogs in your area need a new friend.
2. Gives you more exercise opportunities
This has to be the most obvious bonus of having a dog - you get to go on walkies and fit in extra doses of exercise in your day!
The National Institute of Health and Welfare (2000) found that people who owned a dog were more likely to do 30-minutes or more of exercise at least five days a week, than those who didn’t. Dogs need to be walked frequently to be kept healthy, so that sense of responsibility should make you drag your ass out of bed in the mornings and make sure they get their exercise. How can you deny your little four-legged friend a round of stick chasing?
Read more: 4 Science backed reasons to exercise outside
3. Build muscle as you play
Dogs love to play and they love to run themselves ragged with whatever toy you’ve left out for them. Get hold of a thick rope toy and play tug-of-war with your dog to get your heart rate up. Work your biceps and stay engaged until you tire yourself and your dog out (whichever comes first)! The bigger the dog, the bigger the challenge… so this might not work so well if you have a Pomeranian.
And grooming your dog may feel relaxing, but after 20-minutes of brushing you’re going to have to get out the broom and sweep up those dog hairs. Catch’ em all! And make a workout out of it.
4. Get sweaty with dog workouts
If you want more than a game of tug-of-war with whatever the dog’s got hold of, then you have got to check out some of the crazy trends that are currently sweeping the internet! From the Dog Squat Challenge to Dog Yoga, you can explore some new workouts that incorporate your dog.
The Dog Squat challenge: Whilst holding the dog in your arms, squat low and rise back up steadily. The added weight will help improve your muscle tone. The wriggling dog will increase your concentration.
Dog Yoga (or ‘Doga’): Thought to improve your dog’s circulation and improve your posture, Dog Yoga is a craze sweeping social media at the moment. Not only is it a sweet little workout, but it will strengthen the bond between you and your dog! See some of these Doga positions and poses, or just take a watch of this brill little Dog Yoga video.
5. It will improve your mental health
Dog ownership is known to bring about psychological benefits. The benefit of having a dog in your life is that it can really help increase happiness! Being around animals can help people feel less anxious, more safe and help ease feelings of social isolation. Plus, dogs can help people relax and reduce everyday stress. What a best friend, eh?
In a 2011 study that included a vast survey, it was found that the pet owners were happier, healthier and better adjusted in life, than those without dogs. This is largely assumed to be down to dogs helping to satisfy social need, which in turn increases a sense of belonging, self-esteem and feelings of worth.
So there you have it folks. If you were playing with the idea of getting a dog, then hopefully we’ve helped your decision by showing you some top ways on how dogs can really benefit your life. Dogs can get you active, feeling healthier and they will make your day sparkle a little brighter. So... let’s talk about getting that office dog, boss!