Keeping Fit with Fido

By Adriana Selwyn

It is commonly accepted that dogs are man’s best friend. Turns out they may just be man’s best workout buddy too. Dogs are energetic, reliable, and will never cancel on you whether it’s rainy or if they’re tired; not to mention that it’s near impossible to say no to those puppy-dog eyes begging you to take them out for a walk.

There are 83 million dogs owned in the US, and 70% of dog owners report walking their dogs at least once a day. Research shows that dog owners on average walk for 19 more minutes per week than non-pet owners. Further, dog walkers exercise more consistently and show greater improvements in speed than people who walk with humans.

Tracking your dog’s physical activity levels is now easy to do with the emergence of the canine wearables market. The Whistle Activity Monitor is a GPS enabled steps tracker that attaches to the dog’s collar; Hachiko is a similar activity tracker with an app that also helps coordinate dog care; and the FitBark tracks activity levels and naps, showing the dog’s progress relative to their owner.

Dogs make great companions to boost both physical health and mental well-being. Even if you aren’t a dog person, being an animal person has benefits as pet ownership has been shown to boost social interactions and relationship building, and can help alleviate stress. Pet therapy is widely used in clinical settings to improve patient well-being, alleviate depression and anxiety, and even manage pain.

The Vitality Group’s current health campaign, “Better Health is all in the Family,” encourages Vitality members to engage in healthy behaviors with their loved ones – whether that be their family, friends, co-workers and/or pets. It utilizes the power of social connections to encourage physical activity, healthy eating and stress management for better health and well-being. The benefits of involving others are broad – from creating healthy norms, providing support and motivation, and keeping people accountable to others, to encouraging participation in new activities, making exercise feel like less work and more fun, and building a culture of health.

Have you tried any of the wearable devices for dogs? Do you have a pet who helps your physical and mental well-being? Let us know below or share photos of you and your favorite companion by tagging @VitalityInst on social media – be it a cat, dog, horse, or other!


Photo credit: PawsitiveK9

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