Prioritize Your Health With the Perfect Pet

Prioritize Your Health With the Perfect Pet

Need an excuse to introduce healthier habits into your life? The perfect fitness accountability buddy is right under your nose: it’s your own furry friend!

Dog, cat, rabbit or reptile, the wholesome bond you feel with your pet is only one great perk of having one. As it turns out, they can provide you with the motivation you need to kick-start your long-term wellness journey.

Pets rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.

There are lots of lessons our creatures can teach us, from patience and compassion to seeing gratitude through a whole new lens. Nearly 75% of all pet owners say their furry friend gives them a sense of purpose. Not only that, but pets reduce loneliness and open new avenues of connection for both of you. Some examples include humorously named Facebook groups constructed around unique breed behaviors or grief support communities—like Rainbows Bridge—centered on pet loss and honoring memories of the dearly departed.

Pairing pets with seniors can make all the difference, too—older pet owners are at lesser risk of heart disease thanks to their companion’s cholesterol, blood pressure and stress-lowering skills. Older cats or dogs may make an even better match, and provide the perfect opportunity to give a lesser-adopted, but lower-maintenance pet demographic a forever home.

Trying out fitness with Fido is easier than you may think.

Your health journey can easily center around your pet’s health—or vice versa. Take the story of Patches’ Journey: a big cat creating a bigger impact on not only his owner’s fitness goals, but others’ too. If Patches the formerly-40-pound feline can make steady progress toward rejuvenated energy and a healthier weight, so can you!

Whether you take your companion out for walks, to a dog park or another pet interaction hot spot, or you simply engage in playtime or fetch, what matters is you—and your pet—are taking the initiative to be active. These efforts will improve your pet’s own sense of well-being, as well as strengthen your friendship as you introduce new activities to try together.

You don’t have to be an owner to feel the warm fuzzies.

Arguably, the best part of adopting a pet is the deep connection that develops between you and your precious four-legged friend. However, if pet ownership isn’t ideal or realistic for you in your current season of life, there are still ways to be inspired by cute creatures.

Even watching adorable animal videos on YouTube is beneficial. Psychology Today reports that taking a break from work and looking at cute canine photos can improve focus and alter your mindset to a more positive one. You can also reap refreshing health benefits simply by being around and interacting with animals—whether that means volunteering at an animal shelter, visiting a cat café or making a stop at a friend’s or family’s home to get some creature cuddles in.

April is Canine Fitness Month, but don’t throw your own health to the dogs! Man’s best friend can inspire you to be your best self—and the best time to begin your progress together is today.