This pooch could help melt your paunch

By  , Midday
Oct 25, 2010

According to a recent UK survey, the average dog owner gets over five hours of physical activity every week, without even having to think about exercise


"I don't have anything to wear." "My favourite re-run is on TV." "I'm expecting, any minute now, science to reduce human beings to single-cell organisms, eliminating the need to move at all."


If there's an excuse to not hit the gym, you've thought of it already. But now, there's hope for the hopelessly lazy. It's got four legs and enough energy to get you off the couch and into your running shoes. Your dog is your new workout partner. And with a little help from your pet, you can get in shape before you concoct another excuse. It's not routine, you just do it everyday.


A UK-based survey conducted by pet care expert Bob Martin, revealed that the average dog owner walked twice a day, for an average of 24 minutes for each walk. Do the math, and you've just done five hours and 35 minutes of exercise every week.


The biggest difference between dog walking and hitting the gym? You will be more motivated to do the former.


It is fun, you spend time with your pet, get lots of fresh air... and don't even realise you are exercising.


When dog lover and Warden Road resident Sailesh Ghelani's househelp went out of town, he took control of the leash and found himself a new workout.


"I'd take my dog Eddie for a walk every morning and evening, every day. It tired me out a bit, but I lost some weight in the bargain. Now, I make it a point to walk him over the weekends, and whenever I find the time after work. Running with him invigorates me."


Celebrity fitness expert and dog lover Deanne Pandey seconds the idea. "Controlling the leash gives you a great arm workout and it's good for your chest muscles."


If you hold your abs tight while you walk, it takes cares of that paunch too. Deanne suggests you take it up a notch. "You could run with your dog by the sea or go cycling." It's not easy, and you need to know how to handle your dog on the bike. But if you make it a routine, it will pay off.


The UK survey revealed that 86% pet owners enjoyed taking their pet out each day, while only 16% said they enjoyed going to the gym. So, if even the thought of exercising stresses you out, it's likely to defeat the purpose.


Deanne says, "Bonding with your pet, watching it interact with other pets or even playing ball are all great ways to de-stress."


But that's not it. According to nutritionist Naini Setalvad, "Walking your dog is a good cardiovascular exercise too. It is easy on the joints, helps build bone density and aids digestion." And since you are not dragging your feet and whining about getting to it, it automatically becomes a pleasurable activity.


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