Dogs and horses may be the best pets to keep you physically fit.
It may be impossible to settle the debate of which pets are best, but which pets are best at keeping their owners physically fit is another question entirely, and dogs and horses easily top that list.
Owning a dog forces you to be more active than you would otherwise be just by caring for it. A dog owner can't come home from work and lay down for a Netflix binge session when the dog needs to be walked, and the boundless energy of dogs makes them excellent partners for a variety of outdoor activities, including running, one of the best methods for staying in shape.
In fact, there are a number of organized canine activities that actually require owner participation and fitness. While agility and disc dog competitions are seen as "dog events," both require the skill and fitness of the owner as well as the dog. Agility handlers are running the course right beside their dogs, and disc dog owners are throwing frisbees and using their bodies as springboards.
Beyond competition, even a game of fetch uses muscles that may otherwise have been ignored that day.
Caring for horses requires even more physical activity than caring for dogs. Their stalls need to be mucked, hay bales stacked, and water buckets dumped; if any of those things sound easy to you, just wait until you have to do them.
When it comes time to actually riding your horse, that promotes physical fitness, too. While non-equestrians believe that riders "just sit there," riding a horse actually requires you to maintain your own balance on an animal that is constantly adjusting its own.
That requires the use of almost every muscle in the rider's body. No wonder this Texas A&M study proved that riding a horse for 45 minutes can burn up to 200 calories. Even just grooming your horse burns calories, as every good equestrian knows that you have to put muscle into it to get real results.
Next time you're trying to lose a couple pounds, skip the dreaded treadmill. Instead, take your dog for a run, or your horse for a ride. The results may be even better, and the experience is bound to be a lot more fun.
Do your pets keep you more active? Tell us in the comments below!
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