When I adopted Max von Schnoodle four years ago, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I suffered from multiple severe allergies while growing up, including dust mites (goodbye, bedroom carpet; hello, bedroom linoleum) and cats and dogs. Cats and dogs! Thusly, I just never really understood what pets were really all about.
In my late 20s I realized with complete shock that at some point I had outgrown those awful allergies, and in my late 30s I fostered, then adopted, a skinny, scraggly Mexican street mutt named Max. He had bad teeth, a gimpy hind leg and soulful eyes leading directly to his heart of gold.
We’ve grown a lot together, Max and I. He’s now healthy and happy and I’m a now a dog lover. A dog lover who has walked more since adopting Max than I probably did in all the previous years combined, and while I don’t actually know if that statistic is true 🙂 I do know that:
2 miles per day
x 4 years
= approximately 2,920 miles walked!
Subtract a bit for some lazy days here and there, and add on for those 8+ mile hiking days, and the incredible fact seems to be that I’ve nearly walked across the width of the U.S.A since I adopted a dog.
Want some hard facts about how owning dogs makes us healthier?
- 7 out of 10 dog owners got 150 minutes of exercise every week (compared with 1 out of 4 non-dog owners). (source)
- New dog owners walked an average of 48 minutes more each week. (source)
- Studies have shown that we’re more likely to exercise when we think we’re doing it to benefit our dogs, rather than ourselves! (source)
- Having to walk our dogs gets us out and about in all kinds of weather, thereby making us more likely to hit our basic exercise targets even when the weather stinks. (source)
- Research suggests that being around a dog can decrease the stress hormone Cortisol. (source)
- Dog owners are 34% more likely to walk for at least 150 minutes per week than non-dog owners — and are 69% more likely to participate in any kind of leisure physical activity. This means that simply owning a dog makes you 69% more likely to be physically active! (source)
- According to the American Heart Association, “ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with decreased cardiovascular disease risk” (source)
Of course, simply owning a dog doesn’t equate with better health – though anyone can benefit from the calming, relaxing benefits of being around dogs, it’s their basic animal need for exercise and socialization which can translate into better physical and psychological health for us.
So the next time you’re feeling cranky about taking Fido for yet another dog walk, turn that mood upside down: pop in your headphones, listen to our free Dog Walk Meditation and get exercise for you and your pup while calming and centering your mind, too! And don’t forget to thank Fido for all the good health she brings into your life & all the joy she brings to your heart.