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Walking Your Dog Is Better Than Hitting the Gym!

If you’re trying to tighten your belt—in more ways than one—you might want to cancel that pricey gym membership and invest in a pair of walking shoes and a comfy harness for Harley instead.

According to a survey in the U.K., dog guardians get more exercise from walking their canine companions than people with gym memberships do—an average of eight hours and 11 minutes of exercise a week for dog guardians, compared to a measly one hour and 20 minutes of exercise a week for people without dogs.

This makes sense to anyone who’s ever been owned by a dog. Dogs need to get outside, stretch their legs, breathe fresh air, and sniff the hydrants every day, and so do we (OK … maybe not that last one). Each walk is an exciting adventure to dogs (Who will we meet? What will we smell?), and their enthusiasm makes exercising enjoyable for us too.

According to the survey, more than three quarters of respondents said they’d rather walk their dog than hit the gym. And unlike human exercise partners, our dogs never bail out on us at the last minute. (If your normally enthusiastic pup declines a walk, get him or her to the vet—your pal could be sick or injured.)

If you don’t share your home with a canine companion, you can still reap the benefits of dog-walking by offering to walk a friend’s or neighbor’s dog (a lonely dog who is kept chained or caged would be especially grateful for the attention, exercise, and change of scenery) or by volunteering to walk dogs at your local animal shelter.

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  • Ciree Linsenman says:

    I was wondering if you have any good tips for influencing people to walk their dogs. I am going on my second housemate in a row who doesn’t walk his dogs. I am walking this particular housemate’s dogs, as I did the other housemate where I used to live. He works long hours and it just kills me that he thinks it’s okay to go out and have his fun while his dogs live a life inside the house and in their tiny poop area outside. Even on his days off of work he doesn’t walk them. He feeds them specialty food and takes them to the vet when they need it, so he’s not entirely indifferent….fitness isn’t on his radar for his own life. One of his dogs sometimes doesn’t eat and I’ve told him I think she is depressed because she’s not getting out. It doesn’t seem to effect him. So I continue to walk them. What can I do? I don’t want to live with someone like this and what will happen if I leave? Please give me some tools. I become so upset and heartbroken by things like this that I communicate in a way that alienates me from people sometimes and they feel judged. I do not want this to happen in this situation. Thank you for all you do for the animals, PETA team. I love you.

  • Eileen Kane says:

    I am living proof! I have lost 20 lbs from walking my 2 pugs! It’s great bonding too!

  • Marina says:

    So true! My lab/shepherd mix LOVES the snow we’re getting this time of year, and I love watching her play in it! I live across the street from an elementary school and once school gets out I take Nali across the street with a soccer ball to enjoy the snow and fresh air, and it’s honestly my favorite part of the day.

  • Jodie says:

    I’m a professional dog walker/pet sitter. I walk multiple dogs everyday, which has been a great way to loose weight, and keep it off. I enjoy the walks, and of course the dogs love it!

  • ana says:

    That is so true!
    I lost 15 pounds walking my very cute labrador every morning for one hour, but the best is to see how happy she is to go out!!!

  • katie says:

    this is so true [:
    today, i though i was just going to go for a quick 30 minute walk with my dog charlie, but instead we spent two hours at the park, rolling through the snow, and running around the lake at least three times. we had a blast [:

  • Rosa A. says:

    This is awesome! I want to lose weight and walking my dog is so much more fun then working out!

  • Laura Hudson says:

    I have two huskies who love going for walks on my days off! I enjoy it as long as they don’t chase after cats. I go through alot of shoes every so many months. But they get walked alot and I stay in shape!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

  • Lynne says:

    I love that i wish i could walk my dogs in the winter but they are hairless and its way to cold but come spring or even semi warm days I will definately be walking a couple of them at a time. Thats great to know cause i hate going to the gym would much rather spend the time with my dogs

  • Mommy Reporter says:

    This is so true… I really enjoy walking with my dog and she gets so excited everytime we go. I just need to do it more consistently…

  • Marya says:

    I now own 2 dogs who require 3 to 4 walks a day regardless of the weather. I have never felt better in my life and actually look forward to the walks for my own benefits.

  • Renatd says:

    That is so true! I think it is a great idea & walking a not so luky dog is surely very gratificating!