Owning a dog can be seriously good for your running


A study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health (vol 8 p. 436 - 444) strongly suggested that people who own a dog were significantly more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of walking per week than those who don't. So, how much more likely would it be that they would do more running?

In a British study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (Volume 84, issue 12, pages 717 - 720) the researchers looked at people who acquired a dog or a cat and the effect that had on their health. There were initial health benefits with the owners of both types of pets and the dog owners showed improvements in health for the duration of the ten-month study. They also took more exercise.

I guess it's obvious why owning a dog keeps people healthy and exercising more consistently. If you are a dog owner it is your responsibility to keep your four legged furry friend healthy. Even if you don't feel like going out to stretch your legs your pooch probably will. It's a bit like having a training partner that you've got an appointment with. Well, yesterday I met lots of other runners whose training and racing partners are dogs.

I participated in a Canicross event on Anglesey along with many other runners. Canicross is for man (and woman) and his (or her) best friend. Runner and dog both wear a harness and are linked together by a bungee lead and then run 5k as fast as their six legs can carry them (or ten legs if running with two dogs). It is great fun and, talking to some of the other runners, I was interested to hear that some only do canicross events and wouldn't otherwise consider doing races without their faithful training and racing partner. It would seem that there are many runners out there who are only runners because their dogs love to run and love to run they certainly do - the start of a canicross event is a spectacle to behold - runners and dogs go off at 15 second intervals and (most of) the dogs are all so eager to get going that they are straining on their harnesses and barking enthusiastically in anticipation of what is to come! Well, I think it is great that people who perhaps wouldn't naturally be drawn to running become keen running competitors through their dog's love of running that quickly spills over and blesses the pair of them! Well done to all of those canines out there who are getting their humans into a pair of running shoes and into the forest for a run - keep up the good work!