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Get Fit with Fido, Even If You’re Not A Dog Owner!

Senior editors Bethany and Lisa have fun at the FITNESS Mind, Body & Spirit Games with Lisa's new pup, Lulu!

Written by Dionne Evans, editorial intern

If you’re a dog owner, studies have shown that you may be reaping some serious health benefits.  One study from Michigan State University even says that dog owners are 34 percent more likely to reach their fitness goals – not surprising because of how much walking you sneak in to keep your pooch healthy.

If you don’t have a dog though, don’t fret. The free site wants to hook you up with dog owners in dire need of a break from the responsibility attached to being a pet owner. So while they’re out relaxing, you rake in extra cash and some special time with (wo)man’s best friend.

We asked the pup owners on the FITNESS staff what they think about the site, and while everyone gives it two paws up, a top concern would be meeting the sitters beforehand to make sure they’re the right fit. “Ideally, I’d want a sitter who’s willing to walk my dog twice a day, let them run around and play with him,” says executive editor Pam O’Brien. Karine Nissim Hirschhorn, one of the masterminds behind the program, says that’s not a problem. “Sometimes pictures, testimonials and more aren’t enough; you just want to meet someone the old-fashioned way before handing over the leash. Before users book their stay, they can arrange for an in-person ‘meet & greet’ at a nearby dog park before committing.”

But does having a four-legged friend really help keep you healthy? Here’s what our staffers had to say:

  • “I really enjoy walking Clyde because it’s time when I can be outside, brainstorm ideas or just let my mind wander. Plus, you meet tons of people! I’ve gotten to know most of my neighborhood that way.” –Pam O’Brien, executive editor
  • “I don’t do serious workouts with my dog, but taking her for a long walk after I run is great exercise for her, and perfect recovery for me! –Marla Horenbein, fashion assistant
  • “I really recommend having a dog – even for a weekend – for the instant health and mood-boosting benefits! Five minutes of play with my adorable new French bulldog, Lulu, completely relieves my stress. She also keeps me active without realizing it because I’m always chasing after her.” –Lisa Haney, senior editor

For more on staying fit with Fido, check out page 72 of our October issue, on newsstands now!

Now you tell us: How do you and your pet keep each other healthy?