Fit Like Fido: 5 Healthy Habits You Can Learn From Your Dog
Believe it or not, man’s best friend can teach you a thing or two about living a healthy lifestyle. Just look at how your dog behaves when you get home: They don’t want to lounge on the sofa, they want to immediately head outside to run, jump and use their muscles. While you don’t want to mimic every canine behavior, here are five that might be worth copying so you—and your entire family—can live a happier, healthier life:
- Get your move on every day. The most exciting part of a dog’s day is the daily walk. Hitting the pavement or frolicking in the bark-park is a part of their daily routine and it should be a part of yours too. According to National Academy of Sports Medicine, a 30-minute walk a day can improve decrease your risk of high blood sugar, remove body fat around the waist and lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Can’t get your teenager to exercise? Having a family pet can help. Teens with dogs get more than a half-hour of physical activity every day.
- Keep an eye on portion sizes. Lots of dogs eat portioned out meals because otherwise they would devour the entire bag of kibble. And it turns out this isn’t too different from how humans behave. According to the Mayo Clinic, portioning out your food is important because if you serve yourself too much food, you’re going to consume a lot more of it. If you hate the idea of getting out the measuring cups all the time, switch to smaller dishes to force yourself to cut down on how much you dish out.
- Only eat treats as a special occasion. While we all deserve something sweet once in a while, indulging in treats every single day isn’t the best approach for a healthy lifestyle (for you, your kids or your dog). Keep candy and cookies out of sight and save them for the weekend as a reward.
- Live in the moment. Dogs don’t get stressed about something that happened yesterday or worried about what might happen tomorrow—they are fully in the present. Work on keeping your mind on your current activity and you’ll feel happier and more relaxed.
- Make sleep a priority. When a dog is tired, it sleeps. And it doesn’t wake up until it’s had enough rest. While you have a lot more on our plates than a dog does, you still need to focus on getting enough sleep. According to a study from Harvard School of Public Health, which monitored the napping habits of 24,000 participants, those who napped regularly reduced their risk of heart disease-related death by 37 percent compared to those who never took a nap break. Making sleep a priority is important for your kids too: According to the National Sleep Foundation, kids between the age’s three to five need at least 10 to 13 hours a sleep.
Looking for more tips on how to be happier and healthier? You might like:
- Tips for Getting Started with a Morning Routine
- Four Simple Ways to Relax in Less Than 10 Minutes
- Staying Active for You and Your Children
Photo credit: Nina Plecko