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A top remedy for bad moods
11th September 2019

By Karen Pickwick



Grain-free pet food brand Canagan and the University of Chichester have partnered on research to examine whether runners have an enhanced physical and emotional experience when accompanied by their dog.

 
The new research reveals that exercising with a dog can actually enhance this effect, leaving us with significantly greater feelings of stamina and most of all, vigour  compared with going it alone. The mood data also showed that negative mood states like depression, anger and fatigue decreased following all runs.
 
What is more, it’s possible to maintain the same exercise intensity when running with a dog as without, showing this activity is a feasible way to build exercise into both you and your dog’s routine, discounting perceptions that a dog’s need to stop intermittently would hinder an exercise regime.
 
RESEARCH
 
Study leader Dr Sarah Edmunds, from the University of Chichester, said: “Despite nearly a quarter of adults in the UK owning a dog, there has been very little research investigating the role dogs play in their owners’ motivation for exercise. This is the first study, that we are aware of, which has looked specifically at the impact of running with dogs on their owner’s exercise experience.
 
“Results show that our participants exercised at the same intensity both with and without their dog and they experienced a psychological benefit from running with their dog.
 
“Interview data found participants were autonomously motivated to run with their dogs. From a behaviour change point of view this is of interest as autonomous motivation is associated with exercise adherence. This was a small-scale study, but it indicates taking your dog as a running companion may help to provide that extra motivation to get you out running and help you enjoy the activity.”
 
HEALTH
 
Exercising with a dog has also been proven to improve cardiovascular health, leading owners to a more physically active lifestyle. Better yet, exercising with a dog isn’t just good for you, but it also boosts a dog’s overall health, mood and fitness levels.
Henry Dove, veterinary expert for Canagan, said: “The companionship you share with your dog offers so many benefits and this can be applied to running with your dog.
 
“Building runs into your pet’s daily exercise regime will ensure they will be fit, will be less likely to be overweight, will keep their joints mobile, and will strengthen their muscle mass. They will also get mental stimulation from going to new places and be happy that they are doing something with you. It is important to remember that like humans, your dog will need to build their running endurance over time, and they will need water along the way, too.”