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Dogs Make Better Exercise Buddies

Best Exercise Buddy? Dog vs. Human

If I haven't taken my pooch out for her daily romp, she'll let me know, either by dumping over the garbage can in the kitchen or by giving me that hopeful look. I can't not take her out for a daily walk or run because I feel like I'm letting her down. That's part of the reason new research from the University of Missouri shows that when it comes to exercise buddies, canines are better than humans.

In the 12-week study, 35 people were assigned a walking program for five days a week, while 19 served as the control group. Of the walkers, 23 selected a friend or spouse to exercise with, and 12 walked dogs at a local animal shelter. Those walking dogs were more consistent about keeping up with a regular routine, while those walking with other humans often skipped workouts. Researchers would hear one person say to her human walking companion, "It's hot today. I don't want to walk, do you?" On the other hand, those walking with dogs were eager to get to the animal shelter to walk their pooch because they knew the dog would always be excited to see them and go for a walk. The dog walkers also walked 28 percent faster than they did alone, while those walking with humans only had a 4 percent speed increase.

Pretty interesting, huh? I'm curious to know, what type of exercise buddy do you work out with more, a furry or human one? Tell me when you visit RunningSugar.

Source: Jupiter Images

Join The Conversation
joggerchick94 joggerchick94 7 years
Hands down, I choose dogs. I absolutely detest running with other people! Yes, how horrible does that sound? My friends ask if I want to go running with them sometime and more often than not I bow out with a "no thanks". Either way, I choose my dog, a six month old Siberian Husky, Max (Maximus haha) to run with. He has plenty of energy, and doesn't tire easily. Also, Max is a BIG dog, and often intimidates people. Well, he would never hurt anybody, he's a lovable teddy bear, but nonetheless, I feel safer knowing that most people wouldn't approach me running in the park as long as Max is around :)
mshoema mshoema 7 years
when I just had my terrier mix, Tater, I would take her on my 5Ks and daily runs. She is a champ, she hasn't learned how to pace herself though and it horrible on the leash, so she had interesting fast runs at first and was barely moving at the end. I would love to take my doggies running with me but now that I have my brown mutt, Monkey, as well, there is absolutely NO way I would be able to run and not fall. They are horrible on leashes and run in circles around me. Maybe I should clip them to my belt...on second thought, that would probably be a horrible idea haha. I try and do walks with them daily no matter what.
L7amiguita L7amiguita 7 years
How about a furry human? lol I've never tried working out with my doggy because she's pretty wild! But that's definitely a good idea. For now, I work out with a friend faster than me so that really motivates me.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I love running with dogs...they're way more fun to run with than people are, in my experience. My dog, Scout, is a lab/Rottweiler mix and when she was younger, she would go 4 or 5 miles with me easily. Once she got a bit older, she would run shorter distances with me, but she'd get tired after about a mile. And now she prefers to walk, but she'll run if she's in the mood.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I can tell when she hasn't had enough exercise because she starts on the loveseat (the only furniture the dogs are allowed on) - takes a flying leap over the back - to race up the stairs to the second floor. I have no clue where she turns around upstairs, but next thing I know she comes flying down the steps, takes one bound off the steps, up over the back of the loveseat, to bound off and run through the dining room. And she'll keep repeat this until we take her out for a walk or a run. She'll never let you fall too long off the exercise path, that's for sure!
gts2525 gts2525 7 years
Find an exercise buddy online at The site is a social networking community focused on fitness. also has hundreds of exercises posted with step-by-step instruction, all of which are posted for free.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I'm not a long distance runner by any means (only at 2 or 3 miles depending on my stamina that day), but I hate running with someone else. However, my youngest dog - Maia is a champ! The first mile she's out at front, pushing me to run faster, and then the rest of the time, she's at my side. She seems to be able to run forever - so as I increase my distance, I'm sure she'll be able to keep up. She's a smooth collie/australian cattle dog cross, aka a herding dog. She's essentially as hyper/smart as a border collie. She's all about exercise - it keeps her sane and from literally running and bouncing off the walls and furniture!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I've never really had a great running buddy experience. They usually want to stop before I do, and then I feel like a butthead for running ahead. I'd pick a dog any day.
Zulkey Zulkey 7 years
my dog's a greyhound so while I'll run with him down the block, I really couldn't keep up with him for a long run--they can go over 30 MPH! Plus he's a sprinter so it would be a lot of stop/start, stop/start. I prefer going solo, even sans husband I have to admit.
weffie weffie 7 years
My dog is kind of a wuss for running (he's a pug mix with dainty little legs so he conks out after about a mile) but he's definitely a good motivator when it comes to walking. He lets me come home and chill for a few minutes, but when he decides I've been resting long enough and it's time to go out, he sits in front of me barking and scratching at my shins til I give in, which doesn't take long with that kind of pressure :)
Hello890 Hello890 7 years
Wish I had a dog! If I did, I would go running with it every day!
lydialee_home lydialee_home 7 years
I have a running buddy. We are about the same pace as me, and we normally decide on the distance and the pace before we go out for a run. We do talk a little bit, but mostly when we are not pushing ourselves on one of those long distance day. When we go for shorter and faster pace, we just keep each other company w/o any talking. I love my dog also - it's a small 6 lb yorkie. He cannot run for long distance, and he likes to be carry instead of running. My running buddy just got a golden retriever, I think he will join us for running in a year or two. :)
bellydancinmary bellydancinmary 7 years
I go walking with my dogs and they love it. They keep up with the routine, they walk up to their leashes, sit down, and start to whine non-stop when it's time for their walk.
TammyO TammyO 7 years
I tried to run with my dog who is a terrier mix/mutt she's a bit older though and she was in serious pain afterwards. She could barely walk and kept twitching her back legs. :( It wasn't even a full out run more like a long walk/fast walk/jog. So I run alone. I get really jealous when I see others running all freely with their trotting dogs loyally by their sides.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
SKG - I have a shih tzu, so she could probably handle running some if your bichon can make it. Her main problem is that she's a rescue dog and still very skeptical of the whole being led around on a leash thing. And her feet look like they're on backwards, which doesn't help. We're slowly making progress though :) My boyfriend has a bichon that belonged to his grandmother before she died. He's 11 years old and has arthritis in his hips, but he can still run remarkably fast through the halls of my boyfriend's apartment building! Bichons are such great dogs :)
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I agree SKG, I don't really like running with people either. I tend to run at different paces depending on what my goals are for the day and how I feel, and I like having the freedom to just do what I want to do. Having said that, I ran the first 16 miles of my marathon with other people, and I was totally shocked by how much faster the miles went by, so I can see why some people prefer to run in groups.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I totally agree that it's more difficult to skip out on walking your dog. I don't run with my dog (she's too small), but I do have to take her on daily walks, no matter how I'm feeling or what the weather is doing. Sometimes we don't walk very far, but it's better than nothing!
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