Dogs make great workout buddies

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Stacy Sawyer's dog, Ripley, loves a good walk through the park; and it's started to pay off for him.

"Right! Ripley actually has lost a little weight," Stacy says.

Ripley's lost 20 pounds, to be specific.

Working for the American Heart Association for over a decade, Stacy also knows how important these walks are for her own health, "It will help you lose weight, improve your cardiovascular system, and, ultimately, help fight your risk of developing heart disease."

New Research from the American Heart Association actually proves that being a pet parent can lead to a longer life.

"Pet owners are actually healthier than non pet owners, especially because, most of the time, especially if they're dog owners, they're a little more active," Stacy says.

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity, every week, for heart health. That breaks down to five 30 minute workouts a week.

"The AHA actually recommends walking because it's actually one of the easiest exercise you can do; and it doesn't cost a lot of money; and you can do it pretty much anywhere."

Knowing your pet is counting on you, and the benefits to it's health may just keep you accountable, too.

"We definitely don't want to encourage people just to get a dog to improve their overall health," Stacy says, "But, if you have a dog, definitely, get up, take that dog outside, and start walking with him or her."

Before starting any type of strenuous exercise routine, you should not only check with your own doctor, you might want to ask your vet for recommendations.

We also found some great information about pets and exercise HERE.

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