As if we needed any more reason to love our furry companions, our dogs may be doing more for our health than we are for theirs. Yes, we’re even factoring the outlandish vet bills and super-tasty, super expensive dog food into this equation. Man & Woman’s best friend is proving to be a great motivator for living a healthy, active lifestyle! They Get Us Moving When it comes to being active, The Center for Disease Control recommends the average adult get around 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week. That may seem like a lot, but regular physical activity can reduce the risks of diseases like breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer. After a long day at the office and commute, the motivation to get off the couch can be scarce. But walk in the door to an energized pup who is eager for a walk? Just the motivation you may need. Dog owners who walked their dog compared to owners who didn’t reported higher levels of physical activity and lower body masses. Additionally, non-dog owners were more likely to report certain health issues like high blood pressure and high cholesterol when compared to dog owners who regularly walked their animals. A 30 minute walk each day with your dog can help get you closer to that 150 minute goal. Or even take your dog on a run. They might be awkward at first, but with a little (ok, sometimes a lot of) training, your pooch might make for a great running buddy. They Hold Us Accountable When it comes to losing weight and staying fit, accountability is key. But holding yourself to a plan isn’t always easy, particularly on your own. One way to address this common issue is to team up with a friend. But who said that friend had to be of the human-variety? Dogs are creatures of habit. Once they establish a routine, they will make sure you know when it’s time to get outside. They Help Reduce Stress Stress can certainly be a barrier when it comes to good health. Chronic stress can have many implications on health like bad food choices, weight gain, and decreased willpower. A judgement-free workout buddy can be just the thing to help reduce stress levels. Spending a few minutes with your furry companion can increase levels of the oxytocin, the stress-reducing hormone. And ever heard of a runner’s-high? This takes us back to the idea that dogs get us moving. Exercise can increase levels of endorphins, those feel-good neurotransmitters, so whether you’re out for a quick walk in the park or playing frisbee-fetch, that’s something to feel good about.