American Diabetes Month: How Your Dog Can Be Your Workout Buddy

Fitness Tips

American Diabetes Month: How Your Dog Can Be Your Workout Buddy

Some of the best workout buddies walk on four legs. Dogs can help humans get more exercise. “They’re nonjudgmental. They never criticize your walking gear or make excuses why they don’t want to walk,” says Rebecca Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP, professor and director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Johnson found in one study that people who walked with a dog increased their speed by 28 percent over 12 weeks, while those who walked with a friend were only 4 percent faster. In another study, overweight participants who walked with a dog for 20 minutes a day, five days a week, for a year lost an average of 14 pounds.

At Precor we believe that “tomorrow will be even better because of [our] actions today”, so we’ve partnered with the American Diabetes Association to bring you some advice for diabetes prevention and awareness throughout the month of November.

Aerobic Exercise

Moderate amounts of aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, can boost energy, fight excess pounds, and protect your heart. Regular, moderate-intensity exercise for at least 150 minutes per week - the amount recommended by the American Diabetes Association’s 2017 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes - reduces insulin resistance and substantially lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death. Studies show it also helps control blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. “Every time you move your muscles, you contract them - and muscle contraction increases glucose uptake, which means you’re improving your glucose control independently, without insulin, just by exercising,” says Jacqueline Shahar, MEd, RCEP, CDE, manager of the Clinical Exercise Physiology Department at the Joslin Diabetes Center.

Ready, Set, Walk

Before you make any big changes to your exercise regimen, get the okay from your health care provider. Then work together to set a goal for daily steps and map out a strategy for reaching it—whether you have a dog or not. Pick a time that’s convenient; otherwise, you won’t stick with it.”

To boost your chances of sticking with a walking routine, schedule it. After a few outings, your dog will hold you to it. “Dogs have an innate ability to recognize when it’s time to do something,” says Johnson. “They’re creatures of habit.”

Old Dog, New Trick?

To help your four-legged walking buddy stay fit and active, your vet should examine your dog thoroughly once a year for any underlying cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, and osteoarthritis. These health issues are the main ones that affect the physical ability of dogs.

Keep these tips in mind to make sure your pooch can go the distance:


1. Schedule your walk for early morning or after sunset. Dogs can’t sweat (they pant to cool down), so the best time to walk outdoors during hot months is the morning or evening, when temperatures are cooler.

2. Take along enough water for two. A typical 20- to 40-pound dog needs about 6 ounces of water every half hour, says Ward.

3. Plan your route with your dog in mind. Multiple short walks a day may be best if you have a very young, very old, or physically challenged dog.

These healthy tips are courtesy of the American Diabetes Association. November is American Diabetes Month®. To learn more, call 800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) and visit

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The American Diabetes Association’s mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and make life better for all people affected by diabetes. Together as researchers, clinicians, volunteers, donors, individuals, and families, we drive discovery, raise our voices to advocate about diabetes, and support people in their health journey. Call 800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) and visit for more information and to join us.

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