5 Ways To Exercise With Your Dog

01/09/2012 08:47 am ET

There's no question that pets are good for our health, helping to do everything from lower blood pressure to lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression. One recent study from the American Psychological Association even found that just thinking about a cherished animal improved the emotional well-being of a pet owner just as much as thinking about a cherished friend did. But that's not all the research team found.

"We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than non-owners on several dimensions," lead researcher of the study Allen R. McConnell of Miami University in Ohio said in a statement. "Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extroverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners."

Pet ownership is one health behavior that we're getting right: 39 percent of American households include at least one dog, according to the 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey. But there's probably more you can get out of your friendship with Fido. A dog needs exercise and so do you -- why not do it together? Here are five ways to make a workout more fun for you and your pet:

Exercise With Your Dog

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