Running with your Dog. Disease Prevention.
We had a great response to the first installment of our “benefits of running with your dog” series where we discussed the mental benefits of running. Thanks to everyone for the great comments and for sharing our post. I hope that some folks were motivated to get out and run around with their dog because of it. This week, we will discuss a second benefit of running: disease prevention.
Running with your Dog and Disease Prevention
Running, and exercise in general, has been linked to increased lifespans and reduced disease risk in humans. In a paper published in the American Heart Association Journals, Meyers (2003) makes the stunning statements based on a review of the research literature:
As many as 250,000 deaths per year in the United States are attributable to a lack of regular physical activity. In addition, studies that followed large groups of individuals for many years have documented the protective effects of physical activity for a number of noncardiovascular chronic diseases, such as non–insulin-dependent diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and colon cancer.
In the Meyers paper, there is a chart (shown below) that shows the inverse relationship between fitness level (as measured by metabolic units related to exercise intensity) and relative risk of death.
As if all of the above information is not enough reason to exercise, in a 2002 review in the Journal of Nutrition of near 170 prior research papers, Friedenreich and Orenstein conclude that:
The evidence for decreased risk with increased physical activity is classified as convincing for breast and colon cancers, probable for prostate cancer, possible for lung and endometrial cancers…
If this still isn’t enough to get you out running, think about your dog. It seems logical that dogs would achieve similar benefits from intense exercise like running. We can always point to the Purina Study for proof. This study followed the lives of Labrador Retrievers and found that the leaner dogs lived almost 2 years longer on average than did the fatter dogs.
Running with Your Dog: What are you waiting for?
With all of the evidence pointing to the fact that moderate to intense exercise like running can reduce the risk of disease and increase lifespans, the only remaining question is “what are you waiting for”? Of course, you should always check with your doctor and vet before dramatically changing your exercise routines. For those of us for whom running is not an option, find other moderate to high intensity activities that you can do with your dog. You will both have a lot of fun and will very likely live a longer and healthier life.
Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts To Dog with Love and My GBGV Life. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below - lots of fun fitness tips and advice!