The best fitness buddies have four paws

Dog owners get more exercise than gym-goers, increasing fitness and wellbeing. Now there’s an event you and your dog can enjoy.

The most enthusiastic fitness buddies have four legs, not two… Lexi the beagle likes to chase seagulls at the beach, Miles the mutt likes to run at the park, and Tricky the vizsla loses the plot as soon as she sees a pair of running shoes pulled out of the wardrobe. You can’t stay on the couch when you’ve got a pair of sad puppy eyes begging you to go outside and get moving.

Dogs make you fitter and improve your health: the average dog owner gets more exercise than a gym-goer, which has a huge positive impact on your health. Being inactive is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths – so give your dog a big pat, they’re helping you to live a longer, fitter life.

Sport and exercise doctor John Molloy runs regularly with his dogs: “Running is about freedom to them. They have no concept of time – they’re purely in the moment.” John felt bad that Walter and Summer got to train with him, but never had the fun of competing in an actual race. So he decided to do something about it, creating a fun run/walk for dogs and their owners. John is a strong believer in the benefits of an active lifestyle, and with lifestyle diseases affecting not only humans, but also pets, running with your dog is a great way to keep you both healthier for longer.

“Exercise is the best medicine and dogs are the best therapy,” he says. “I see a lot of lifestyle diseases: how do you prescribe more exercise? Often dogs are the ones that help encourage people to exercise.”

Four paws

Four Paws is taking place in September in Canterbury, drawing in entrants from all over New Zealand and the world. The toughest working dogs are doing the full marathon, while the shorter distances are attracting all kinds of breeds, including a three-legged Ronald McDonald therapy dog who will be bringing up the rear with a hop-trot. If you and your four-legged fitness buddy would like to join in, you can find out more here.

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