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There’s no denying that running makes you stronger, both physically and mentally. But, as a dog lover, have you considered the advantages of running with your dog?
We’ve all had those days when our desk chair feels like it’s become part of our bodies. Well, lacing up your running shoes and leashing up your pup can help to erase the stress of the day.
Now, if running as pleasure is a foreign concept to you, don’t worry—you’ll get there.
Running, especially with your four-legged friend, has countless mental and physical health benefits. Today, we’ll focus on the most impactful benefits of running with your dog to get you motivated to start running or keep running!
Let’s start with the obvious. Being physically active with your dog can help you maintain a healthy body. Aerobic activities like running, walking, or jogging help to lower your blood pressure, achieve or maintain a healthy weight. Running also helps to strengthen your joints. Losing weight can lighten the load on your joints and strengthen the muscles around the knees. By building strength in your legs, you can help protect joints like your knees.
Your pup can experience the same benefits, too. Dogs need a balance of energy intake and output to keep their bodies at a healthy weight. According to The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, dogs need at least 30 minutes of exercise daily to maintain a healthy weight. Not to mention, dogs need all the help they can get from getting chubby.
With all the health benefits, running can help extend your life and keep your dog running beside you for years to come.
Running with your dog can make you feel safer, which can be quite empowering. Whether you’re 25 or 55, you’ve probably jogged through a dimly lit park and checked over your shoulder a few times. Feeling unsafe while running alone can throw off your heart rate, pace, and mental state. But with a dog by your side, you have their additional senses and awareness helping to keep you safe. Plus, dogs can be quite intimidating to criminals. A furry running partner can give you peace of mind like nothing else.
Routine and Motivation through Achieving Goals
Part of the bonding process is becoming healthier and stronger together. When I first adopted my dog, he’d been in an overpopulated shelter where he’d spent two months living in a travel crate. I soon found out he received minimal walks.
When I took him on his first run, he was panting and could barely catch his breath after just one mile. It took patience to run with him, but we wouldn’t give up. We ran often enough that he built up his strength and stamina. And when he got there, he helped me complete running goals I never thought I would achieve. This mutual patience and perseverance helped us to connect in a way that’s unique to runners and their pups.
Improve Brain Function and Reduce Depression and Anxiety
You can literally run your way to happiness, so to speak. Running helps release endorphins related to positive feelings. Not only that, it can help regenerate brain cells. If you have mild to moderate depression, studies have shown that running can be as effective as anti-depressants.
Exercise can even reduce anxiety for your pup. Anxious and active dogs, like mine, often have pent up energy that can create stress. Running releases some of this energy and helps your dog sleep more restfully.
The routine of running regularly can help establish stability in your dog’s schedule that can reduce stress caused by uncertainty.
One of the most surprising benefits of running with my dog was the unique bonding experience runners form with their dogs. When I first started jogging with my dog, he naturally stayed in step with me. He’d watch for my subtle cues before shifting directions or speeding up. It wasn’t until he lunged after a cat that I realized he thought we were hunting as a pack. With a bit of assistance from a head collar, he began to understand that we run to spend time together, not to chase squirrels or other small furry prey.
Spending Time in Nature
One often overlooked psychological benefit of running with your dog is that it pulls you out of the gym and into nature. Not only do we all love a good adventure, but studies show that nature can reduce anxiety, stress, lower blood pressure while increasing our energy and improving our problem-solving abilities.
The amazing benefits of spending time outside with your pup don’t just apply if you run on a trail. Even running down a tree-lined street can help with stress and mental well-being.
The other advantage of getting off the treadmill and into the fresh air is that you can curb your running plateau with different routes and locations.
Running is one of the few exercise options that is mutually beneficial for both you and your dog. The essential running gear you need to bring your dog along for the adventure is much lower in cost than joining a gym, plus you get the added perk of fresh air and nature. In fact, you can get started with a running routine with just a leash, collar, and a pair of running shoes.
If you’re a beginner, getting back into a running routine, or if you’re a pro, make sure you pick up the basic gear so your dog can benefit, too! Check out our Halti All-In-One Lead, and our Halti Dog Collar for some of your dog’s essential running gear.
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