Exercise: 10 things I learned from my dog Archie

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Friday, 24 August 2012.
Tagged: exercise, health, healthy lifestyle, tips, wellness

Exercise: 10 things I learned from my dog Archie
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We all know exercise is important for health and that it needs to be done regularly. I know of no better way to force me to walk each day than our dog Archie. Without him, I'd already be a couch potato of extreme spud-ness! Here are 10 things I've learned from Archie, my high-energy cattle dog.

Archie sadly passed away in 2017 after a long and glorious life of 17 years - pretty great for a working dog, as the vet kept telling me. He was very missed by all our family and will be remembered forever. He lives on in posts like this one. Enjoy the pics. Catherine

1. Seize every opportunity

Archie never hesitates. The moment he sees those joggers on my feet, he knows. He's ready and raring to go. He's at the door puffing and anxious to get OUT THERE. That's exactly the attitude you should adopt. Think of exercise as an opportunity, not a burden or a chore. It's something that will make you feel good - really good - and keep those kilos off and that midriff FLAT. You'll feel energized for the rest of the day and zing through your work load.

2. Always walk or run at 100 per cent

Archie doesn't just trot along. Given the chance, he gives it all he's got. A 100 per cent sort of guy.

3. Look for ways to be active

When he's not walking, Archie loves his tennis ball. He'll seek it out and then drop it at your feet whenever you're outdoors doing the garden or hanging out the washing.

Archie on knees

4. Put yourself and your needs first

Nag, whine or annoy your family and mates until they give in and take you for that walk. It's Archie's main goal in life to get out onto the street or into that park and run around. It makes him feel good and it does me too - once I actually get there and enjoy the big blue sky and the wide green outdoors.

5. Don't wolf down a huge meal after you've finished

Follow Archie's lead - sniff things out, be choosey and chew slowly.

6. Drink a lot to stay hydrated

I've never seen a dog drink as much as Archie. Maybe it's because he's a male. Maybe it's the cattle dog breed. But he can gulp down half his water bowl when we get back from a walk no probs. We have several bowls around the garden just in case. You too should make sure you drink lots. Plain water is the best as Archie can testify. It's cheap, has no kilojoules and is always available.

7. Get your family interested so they'll exercise with you too

It's heaps more fun to exercise with someone else.

8. Be active in your day to day life

Archie two ways

Let's face it. One walk for 30 minutes is not enough for weight loss and your overall wellbeing. It's good – way better than nothing. But not enough to counteract the other 12 hours you may spend sitting in front of your computer at work or home, in front of the idiot box, around the table doing bookwork or reading. Take a tip from Archie. Don't sit around doing nothing the rest of the day. Stand up, pace up and down the room, mooch around the garden or sniff out ways to be active.

9. Get regular

Walking Archie each day forces me to make exercise a regular habit. I actually look forward to our visits to the park. So get out that leash and do it every day.

10. Be grateful to your "owners"

Archie is such a smoochie dog. He's a lesson for us all in gratitude. He's always so happy for our time, attention and affection. He gives back heaps in return. Does your dog get you out walking?

Remember "dog" is "God" spelled backwards!
And Archie is the God of Walking.


Research backs up what Archie has taught me

1. Dogs and their owners can lose weight together

A US program called "People and Pets Exercising Together" (PPET) has shown that when both the owner and dog walked together and ate a lower kilojoule or calorie intake, they both lost weight. More than 66 per cent of the owner's physical activity time was spent with their pet so this makes prfect sense. Compared to non-pet owners, the owners lost 4.7 per cent of their total body weight while the pets themselves lost 15 per cent over a 12-month study.

Kushner RF, Blatner DJ, Jewell DE, Rudloff K. The PPET Study: People and pets exercising together. Obesity 2006;14:1762-1770.

2. The 7 documented health benefits of a dog

This post broadens the health benefits of a dog - it's not just exercise and weight motivation. It points out the American Heart Association published a scientific statement detailing the impact of a pet on cardiovascular risk. Here are those 7 benefits, according to Conscienhealth:

1. Longer life.
2. Lower blood pressure.
3. Lower cholesterol.
4. Better fitness.
5. Less obesity.
6. Less stress.
7. More emotional and social satisfaction.

and here is the AHA paper on pet ownership as published in Circulation:

Levine GN, Allen K, Braun LT, et al. Pet ownership and cardiovascular risk: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2013;127:2353–2363.