The Benefits of Exercising With Your Dog

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
(Roger Caras)

“We believe that dogs add value to human lives, from companionship to health,” says Genevive B, a community manager at, the nation’s largest dog-sitting network, “and exercising with a four-legged companion makes this important ‘chore’ fun!”

I couldn’t agree more.

My dog Barkley supports my wellbeing in so many ways. He’s my primary hiking partner, he offers unconditional love and affection, and he keeps me connected to my seven foundations of health. In other words, Barkley brings health and wellbeing into my life, just like Skye, Duke, Hummer, Nutmeg, Yampa, Desi, Maggie Mae, Aussie, Odin, Delta, and Dillion improve the lives of their owners, all members of our Happy Living community who sent pictures of their pups (see below) to be included in this post.

Genevive introduced me to today’s guest writer, Chelsea Alvarez. Chelsea lives in the Pacific Northwest, where the coffee is good and the dogs are plentiful, and she writes as a contractor for When she’s not writing or teaching yoga, she can be found biking with her kids.

I am very pleased to introduce Chelsea and to share her post in celebration of dogs!

For people looking to bring more joy and health into their lives, dogs are an invaluable resource.

Canine companionship has been scientifically proven to be beneficial to one’s health for a number of reasons, including but not limited to lessening anxiety and depression, improving heart health, and decreasing likelihood of allergies and eczema in children.[2]  According to scientists at the University of Missouri, taking care of a dog may, in fact, lengthen one’s life span.[3] Not only is the emotional bond with a dog good for your heart, but dog owners have also been found to have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) and to visit doctors less often than those without a furry presence in their lives.

One of the most obvious health benefits of life with Fido is that dogs are excellent workout buddies. What could be a better reminder to get out and move around than your best friend standing by the door, leash in mouth, expectantly wagging their tail at you?

Bodies and brains are most responsive to exercise programs that are routine, which is great for dog owners, because they tend to build daily exercise routines into the structure of their lives. Want to ensure you’ll stick to that resolution to walk or run every day? Get a dog! You’ll want to research breeds, selecting a dog whose exercise needs track with your fitness goals and lifestyle.[4]

Sometimes, sticking to a routine isn’t entirely under our control, but rain or shine, human beings need movement… and so do dogs. So, what is a pet parent to do during inclement weather?

When you’re stuck in the house due to the weather, you and your dog can get exercise with a long game of tug, running up and down stairs together, or any playful activity that gets you both moving. Another strategy is to gear up and brave the elements. Sierra Trading Post is a great source for discounted weather gear for dogs and humans alike. During hot weather, seek out shady parks, woodsy trails, and dog-friendly beaches. Be sure to bring along water for yourself and your dog.
Regular exercise is integral to the health and wellbeing of both humans and dogs, and routinely exercising together can be a powerful tool for creating and strengthening the bond between you and your pooch.[5] So get moving! Grab the leash, get outside, and explore the world! Your dog will thank you, and your health will too.

If you have a canine best friend that adds joy and happiness to your life and you’d like to join our celebration of dogs, post a picture of your dog on our Facebook page.

Image via Unsplash | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!




[4] ).




Tags: , , , ,