Your New Best Friend

How’s this for motivation? Boogie, a lost chocolate lab, recently crashed the party at the YMCA of Southwest Indiana’s half marathon event in Evansville. With no training, strength building, or stretching, this dog wandered  up to  the starting line with the rest of the marathoners and tagged along for the entire 13.1 miles—not bad for a novice. 

Go ahead, laugh—but apparently this is a serious thing. In fact, Runner’s World has a page devoted solely to our canine friends. Here, you can learn the basics like how to run with your dog, which breeds are likely to stay the course, and whether or not to keep them on a leash while going out for your morning jog. While it’s probably unfair that your Jack Russell or Labradoodle doesn’t have to drop upwards to $100 twice a year for running shoe maintenance, somehow we can forgive them since their loyalty goes the distance. 

Running with your dog isn’t just for show, however cute the spectacle. In The Journal of Physical Activity & Health, researchers found that 1 in 3 dog owners were more likely to walk their pets more than two hours a week than, let’s say, people who love cats.  The research also suggests that dog owners get better quality exercise—think faster walking and more miles on the sidewalk. 

Keep in mind, just because you’re having a good time and benefitting from having Fido at your side, doesn’t mean he’s having fun too. The American Veterinarian Association cautions dog lovers that running injuries aren’t exclusive to two-legged creatures—they can get hurt too. When you take the dogs out, be sure to run them along grassy or other natural areas and avoid hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt.

No matter how you feel about running with dogs, your health and your dog’s safety is important. For those of you who are looking for a few dog-friendly Ys around the country, try checking out these events and services offered now or in the past:

Now, post a pic of your dog on the run and tell us a story about how your canine companion helps you stay motivated and in shape.

Tags: YMCA, Y, Running, Runners, Run, Jogging, Joggers, Jog, Dog, Canine, Vet, Veterinarian, Pet

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