Why your favourite training buddy could be four legged

Why your favourite training buddy could be four legged

Having a reason to put on your trainers and head outside for a walk can make it more likely that you’ll, well, put on your trainers and head outside for a walk! And for a lot of people, a four-legged loved one pleading with big wide eyes to be leashed up and taken out, is a great, effective ‘reason’.

My family’s blue cattle dog certainly helps to keep us on our toes. Even if I’ve been to an early morning yoga class and have a busy day ahead, when I’m working from home she’s a great reminder to stop after a couple of hours and head out into the garden for a play. Or better yet, to grab her collar and lead and take her for a walk around the neighbourhood or on the beach.

But don’t just take my word for it. In 2017, a UK study proved that dog owners are sedentary for 30 minutes less per day, on average, compared to people who don’t have a furry friend in their lives. They also find it easier to maintain their physical activity levels when the weather outside makes curling up on the sofa seem more appealing.

So, if you’ve got a dog but you don’t take him or her for regular walks at the moment, why not make a commitment to do it daily, this week? You might be surprised how much you (and your pooch!) enjoy it – and how quickly it turns into a habit.

If you don’t own a dog, no problem. You don’t need to get one in order to benefit from what I’m calling the ‘four-legged exercise effect’. Because don’t forget that while dogs do make great family members, they’re a big commitment, so you should never bring one into your household without some serious thought.

Instead, consider ‘borrowing’ a pooch. Chances are there a few dogs in your neighbourhood who would jump (literally!) at the chance to get out for a walk with you, so why not ask your neighbours, or friends and family, if you can walk their dogs for them, a few times a week? You’ll probably be doing them a favour!

Or, if there’s a local dog shelter in your area, consider approaching them to volunteer as a dog walker. The good news is that volunteering your time for a good cause comes with its own suite of health and wellbeing benefits, so you’ll win both ways!

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Martha Lourey-Bird | Sports & Exercise Scientist will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.