There are many different reasons why people want to lose weight. They may want to improve their health, feel more energetic or fit into a new outfit for a class reunion or party. One thing that stops people from reaching their goal of losing weight is motivation. Motivation is defined as a combination of desire, values and beliefs that inspire you to take action.
Walking is an excellent way to lose weight and can be done wherever you want to go. If you decide to begin a walking program but constantly put it off then you could definitely be lacking in motivation. A perfect motivator would be your dog, since they love to go for walks. Dogs love attention and time spent with you is what they want and need. Once your dog gets used to going for regular walks, they probably won’t let you slack off. They will beg and follow you until you give in. Knowing your dog is benefiting from walking can be another strong motivator for you to stick to a regular walking routine.
The University of Missouri in Columbia conducted a study about people’s weight loss from walking with their dogs. Each participant had a complete health assessment done before they began the program. The assessment was performed by the personnel in the School of Health Professions’ Missouri Mobile Health van. Two different groups were involved in the program. One group walked for 50 weeks and the other group walked for 26 weeks so the researchers could compare weight loss results. They started out by walking a dog for 10 minutes a day three times a week. Eventually they walked five days a week for 20 minutes a day. Before these people started the program they didn’t walk on a regular basis and were economically disadvantaged or disabled. Rebecca Johnson is the director of the College of Veterinary Medicines Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction. She stated that the first group averaged a weight loss of 14 pounds during the one-year program. Those who directed the study said the dog was the lone motivator for the participants to stick to the walking program. There are many other studies that prove people that don’t own a dog gets less exercise than people who own a dog and take them for walks.
One of the best perks of walking with your dog is you’ll probably have so much fun that you won’t realize your even exercising. You could also ask a friend and their dog to come along which would be good if your going to walk in unfamiliar areas. Since dogs like to run after squirrels or other animals, you can be sure of getting a good workout. The fresh air and being outside is also very good for you mentally and physically.
Before you start any exercise program always have a checkup by your doctor. If your dog isn’t regularly active then he should also have a checkup by a veterinarian. Make sure you stretch before walking and that your shoes are comfortable and suitable.