Exercise #13 – If You Want A Friend (And Less Of A Waist) Get a Dog

One of the things Florida is renowned for (apart from crazy people) is it’s retired population.  And despite the fact that we normally get a bit plumper as we age, the aging Florida Men and Florida Women I see in my neighborhood really don’t appear to suffer from that.  I’ve often been curious how these seniors stay active.  Sometimes they engage in activities that don’t even seem like exercise, but actually do a lot to help them stay in shape.  But the most common thing I see in my neighborhood is that they’re frequently out walking a dog.

Sometimes it’s a bit absurd.  I’ve noticed a tendency for the dogs to get larger as the people get smaller.  One diminutive old lady walks a Great Dane that could best be described as Marmaduke after he’d been subjected to serious steroid treatments along with some sort of genetic modification so extreme that a comic book mad scientist would think it was going too far.  And despite the fact that she appears to be in her eighties, she’s as skinny as a rail, although not unhealthily so.  Keeping up with the hairy behemoth on walks appears to keep her fit.

This works for people who aren’t old enough for Social Security and Medicare as well. Walking a dog thirty minutes a day will burn 150 calories or so. In other words, the same amount you burn from…walking. And you may be thinking, “What do I need a dog for if I’m just going to go walking?” Simple. You have no choice but to take them out. They’ll either poop on the carpet, or they’ll whine so loudly that you’ll be driven insane. So they guarantee that you get some movement in your day.

And if you have a lunatic dog, it’s even better.  Psycho dogs make you move faster.  Thirty minutes of jogging along with an unhinged cur will burn 300 calories.  And you’ll also have to prevent the psycho dog from attacking every other dog, old lady, kid on a scooter, and automobile that crosses your path.  And also every policeman, mailman, or garbage man.  Dogs really hate public servants.  Who knew they were anarchists?  Or just libertarians?  Anyway, restraining a crazy canine will make you get some resistance training in as well.  Not as good as actual resistance training maybe, but I guess every little bit helps.

Jogging or running with the dog is also a great opportunity if you’re into preening peacockery. Every day, I see overly muscled shirtless bros jogging along with their mutts. This tends to get them a lot of attention from the ladies, both for the muscles and the cuteness of the dog. Including numerous whistles, which is totally sexist. Naturally, shirtless jogging is probably only an option for men. Women doing this would be…problematic. I wouldn’t stop them (#equality), but some cop might.

Anyway, it’s not just the walking and running that’ll keep you in shape.  Dogs like to play.  You can burn a decent amount of calories playing fetch with your furry friend.  Toss a frisbee or maybe even just a stick.  This may not seem like much, but it’s actually a little better than walking.  You’re not just standing around, you’re also throwing stuff.  As with other things that involve relatively light exertion (like golf) it doesn’t burn calories very quickly, but it adds up if you do it for a few hours.

Another thing the occasionally crazed denizens of the Sunshine State like to do with their dogs is go for a swim with them. Not at a local pool (the lifeguards don’t like fur collecting in the water), but in many of the freshwater lakes and streams in Florida. Swimming is a great full body workout for sapiens and canids alike. An hour in the water will burn over 400 calories. There are risks, though. Florida’s fresh water lakes have brain eating amoebas. Although these are rare. And also alligators, which are not so rare. Gators don’t eat brains, but they do eat limbs. And if you’re really unlucky, you might swim into a literal manatee orgy. Which is a thing that actually happens. But if you’re willing to brave the treacherous (and occasionally indecent) hazards of Florida’s waterways, you and your four-legged ball of fuzz will be in great shape.

And then there’s the favored pastime of the country boys of my native Georgia.  They play a different form of fetch, where the dogs round up dead things for them.  It’s quite normal for them to dress up in what looks like paramilitary gear and head into the woods to fight off incursions of deer and wild pigs.  And doves of course.  They must always make certain to lay waste to the bird that’s a…symbol of peace.  Hunting isn’t for everyone, but trudging through the woods with your canine companion while attempting to depopulate the natural world can burn 150-300 calories per hour.  

On the other hand, if you’re an overly citified type who likes wine spritzers and sushi and what not, you can engage in more trendy diversions with your dog.  A common thing these days amongst excessively comfortable suburbanites is to have a dog party.  Dozens of people in Polo shirts and flip-flops will bring their dogs to one house and let them just go nuts while the humans have lunch.  I know what you’re thinking.  “Triple-D (nobody calls me that), isn’t that just a barbecue?”  Well, sort of.  And that can tend to add to the waistline.  Drinking too much alcohol can ruin a diet, as can too many burgers (although they don’t have to be bad for you in small quantities), or fried things and barbecue, or dessert.  All things we have at cookouts.  But you can work it off.

Because dog parties frequently end in disaster as the furry creatures engage in a swirling melee across your backyard. So it takes tremendous exertion to prevent the ruthless predators from killing each other. And even small dogs can be trouble. I’ve noticed that a dog’s tendency towards psychotic behavior seems to be inversely related to its size. Meaning tiny dogs are absolute lunatics. So restraining a Bullmastiff is a good way to work up a sweat, but even corralling a ravening Yorkie can lead to noticeably less fat. This can also produce income by generating YouTube worthy videos. If you’re okay with sharing your misadventures with the gods of Silicon Valley. Or TikTok worthy videos, if you’re okay with sharing your misadventures with the Chinese Communist Party.

But this isn’t even the craziest dog-involved exercise I’ve heard of.  Some yuppie nuts do “Doga” (Dog Yoga) which is how overly bourgeois people introduce their best friends to cultural appropriation.  An hour of this, depending on intensity, can burn 150-300 calories.  And also likely produces a variety of confused (and therefore adorable) looks from said best friend.  These hilarious reactions are also good for uploading to the Anxiety Industrial Complex (Instagram) or the Chinese Military Industrial Complex (TikTok).

There’s even freestyle musical dance with dogs. You read that right. Somebody has this much time on their hands. Like many strange and bizarre things (such as hockey), it came from Canada. Dogs and their masters (are we still allowed to say “master” in the 21st century? Asking for a friend.) dance in elaborate routines. Now trying this in your backyard is likely to just cause chaos and destruction, but dancing does burn 300 to 600 calories per hour. This will also probably lead to people assuming that you are a little too close to your dog.

But if you are a real person with a job and limited time for these inanities, you can stay in shape just by roughhousing in the backyard. I learned how that works at an early age. My dad inherited a rather large mongrel from his dad named Gator. I was all of four when this happened. Dad insisted that the huge hound was just very amiable and liked to play, but the neighborhood kids (including me) were deathly afraid of the oversized beast. So dad pinned him up in a chicken wire fence in the backyard.

Much to our chagrin, though, Gator escaped and charged around to the front yard where we were playing. Dad insists to this day that he just wanted to play, but four year-old me and my pals didn’t see it that way. We scattered to the winds to get away from the fell monster. You would’ve too. If Cujo wants to play, you might be skeptical. But this episode in fleeing from vicious creatures probably explains why childhood obesity wasn’t a thing when I was a kid.

And it produced extra work for my Dad. Because we discovered how Gator escaped. He dug a huge hole under the fence. And by huge I mean maybe three feet in diameter. And he did this in a matter of minutes. If Gator had of been around during World War One, he could’ve tunneled under German trenches and ended the war in a matter of weeks. This only reinforced our belief that he was truly a hound of Hell, though. And Dad was stuck with the task of filling in the massive rift Gator tore into the Georgia clay.

That is a downside to having a dog.  They do occasionally…damage things.  But I’ve noted before that house and yard chores, including repairs and additions, can also be a way to stay in shape.  If you have a mutt that’s an infernal fiend, you’ll have no choice but to undo the havoc he wreaks, which will take a bit off the waistline.

Now, you may have read some articles claiming that dog owners aren’t necessarily in good shape. It’s true, but there’s a reason for that. If you’re fat and your dog is fat, it probably means your diet sucks and he’s eating your leftovers. A fat dog is a good indicator of whether or not you’re taking care of yourself. Because dogs will eat anything you leave behind. So make sure you’re eating healthy.


If You Want A Friend (And Less Of A Waist) Get a Dog

One of the things Florida is renowned for (apart from crazy people) is it’s retired population. And despite the fact that we normally get a bit plumper as we age, the aging Florida Men and Florida Women I see in my neighborhood really don’t appear to suffer from that. I’ve often been curious how these seniors stay active. Sometimes they engage in activities that don’t even seem like exercise, but actually do a lot to help them stay in shape. But the most common thing I see in my neighborhood is that they’re frequently out walking a dog.

Sometimes it’s a bit absurd. I’ve noticed a tendency for the dogs to get larger as the people get smaller. One diminutive old lady walks a Great Dane that could best be described as Marmaduke after he’d been subjected to serious steroid treatments along with some sort of genetic modification so extreme that a comic book mad scientist would think it was going too far. And despite the fact that she appears to be in her eighties, she’s as skinny as a rail, although not unhealthily so. Keeping up with the hairy behemoth on walks appears to keep her fit.

This works for people who aren’t old enough for Social Security and Medicare as well. Walking a dog thirty minutes a day will burn 150 calories or so. In other words, the same amount you burn from…walking. And you may be thinking, “What do I need a dog for if I’m just going to go walking?” Simple. You have no choice but to take them out. They’ll either poop on the carpet, or they’ll whine so loudly that you’ll be driven insane. So they guarantee that you get some movement in your day.

And if you have a lunatic dog, it’s even better. Psycho dogs make you move faster. Thirty minutes of jogging along with an unhinged cur will burn 300 calories. And you’ll also have to prevent the psycho dog from attacking every other dog, old lady, kid on a scooter, and automobile that crosses your path. And also every policeman, mailman, or garbage man. Dogs really hate public servants. Who knew they were anarchists? Or just libertarians? Anyway, restraining a crazy canine will make you get some resistance training in as well. Not as good as actual resistance training maybe, but I guess every little bit helps.

Jogging or running with the dog is also a great opportunity if you’re into preening peacockery. Every day, I see overly muscled shirtless bros jogging along with their mutts. This tends to get them a lot of attention from the ladies, both for the muscles and the cuteness of the dog. Including numerous whistles, which is totally sexist. Naturally, shirtless jogging is probably only an option for men. Women doing this would be…problematic. I wouldn’t stop them (#equality), but some cop might.

Anyway, it’s not just the walking and running that’ll keep you in shape. Dogs like to play. You can burn a decent amount of calories playing fetch with your furry friend. Toss a frisbee or maybe even just a stick. This may not seem like much, but it’s actually a little better than walking. You’re not just standing around, you’re also throwing stuff. As with other things that involve relatively light exertion (like golf) it doesn’t burn calories very quickly, but it adds up if you do it for a few hours.

Another thing the occasionally crazed denizens of the Sunshine State like to do with their dogs is go for a swim with them. Not at a local pool (the lifeguards don’t like fur collecting in the water), but in many of the freshwater lakes and streams in Florida. Swimming is a great full body workout for sapiens and canids alike. An hour in the water will burn over 400 calories. There are risks, though. Florida’s fresh water lakes have brain eating amoebas. Although these are rare. And also alligators, which are not so rare. Gators don’t eat brains, but they do eat limbs. And if you’re really unlucky, you might swim into a literal manatee orgy. Which is a thing that actually happens. But if you’re willing to brave the treacherous (and occasionally indecent) hazards of Florida’s waterways, you and your four-legged ball of fuzz will be in great shape.

And then there’s the favored pastime of the country boys of my native Georgia. They play a different form of fetch, where the dogs round up dead things for them. It’s quite normal for them to dress up in what looks like paramilitary gear and head into the woods to fight off incursions of deer and wild pigs. And doves of course. They must always make certain to lay waste to the bird that’s a…symbol of peace. Hunting isn’t for everyone, but trudging through the woods with your canine companion while attempting to depopulate the natural world can burn 150–300 calories per hour.

On the other hand, if you’re an overly citified type who likes wine spritzers and sushi and what not, you can engage in more trendy diversions with your dog. A common thing these days amongst excessively comfortable suburbanites is to have a dog party. Dozens of people in Polo shirts and flip-flops will bring their dogs to one house and let them just go nuts while the humans have lunch. I know what you’re thinking. “Triple-D (nobody calls me that), isn’t that just a barbecue?” Well, sort of. And that can tend to add to the waistline. Drinking too much alcohol can ruin a diet, as can too many burgers (although they don’t have to be bad for you in small quantities), or fried things and barbecue, or dessert. All things we have at cookouts. But you can work it off.

Because dog parties frequently end in disaster as the furry creatures engage in a swirling melee across your backyard. So it takes tremendous exertion to prevent the ruthless predators from killing each other. And even small dogs can be trouble. I’ve noticed that a dog’s tendency towards psychotic behavior seems to be inversely related to its size. Meaning tiny dogs are absolute lunatics. So restraining a Bullmastiff is a good way to work up a sweat, but even corralling a ravening Yorkie can lead to noticeably less fat. This can also produce income by generating YouTube worthy videos. If you’re okay with sharing your misadventures with the gods of Silicon Valley. Or TikTok worthy videos, if you’re okay with sharing your misadventures with the Chinese Communist Party.

But this isn’t even the craziest dog-involved exercise I’ve heard of. Some yuppie nuts do “Doga” (Dog Yoga) which is how overly bourgeois people introduce their best friends to cultural appropriation. An hour of this, depending on intensity, can burn 150–300 calories. And also likely produces a variety of confused (and therefore adorable) looks from said best friend. These hilarious reactions are also good for uploading to the Anxiety Industrial Complex (Instagram) or the Chinese Military Industrial Complex (TikTok).

There’s even freestyle musical dance with dogs. You read that right. Somebody has this much time on their hands. Like many strange and bizarre things (such as hockey), it came from Canada. Dogs and their masters (are we still allowed to say “master” in the 21st century? Asking for a friend.) dance in elaborate routines. Now trying this in your backyard is likely to just cause chaos and destruction, but dancing does burn 300 to 600 calories per hour. This will also probably lead to people assuming that you are a little too close to your dog.

But if you are a real person with a job and limited time for these inanities, you can stay in shape just by roughhousing in the backyard. I learned how that works at an early age. My dad inherited a rather large mongrel from his dad named Gator. I was all of four when this happened. Dad insisted that the huge hound was just very amiable and liked to play, but the neighborhood kids (including me) were deathly afraid of the oversized beast. So dad pinned him up in a chicken wire fence in the backyard. 

Much to our chagrin, though, Gator escaped and charged around to the front yard where we were playing. Dad insists to this day that he just wanted to play, but four year-old me and my pals didn’t see it that way. We scattered to the winds to get away from the fell monster. You would’ve too. If Cujo wants to play, you might be skeptical. But this episode in fleeing from vicious creatures probably explains why childhood obesity wasn’t a thing when I was a kid.

And it produced extra work for my Dad. Because we discovered how Gator escaped. He dug a huge hole under the fence. And by huge I mean maybe three feet in diameter. And he did this in a matter of minutes. If Gator had of been around during World War One, he could’ve tunneled under German trenches and ended the war in a matter of weeks. This only reinforced our belief that he was truly a hound of Hell, though. And Dad was stuck with the task of filling in the massive rift Gator tore into the Georgia clay.

That is a downside to having a dog. They do occasionally…damage things. But I’ve noted before that house and yard chores, including repairs and additions, can also be a way to stay in shape. If you have a mutt that’s an infernal fiend, you’ll have no choice but to undo the havoc he wreaks, which will take a bit off the waistline.

Now, you may have read some articles claiming that dog owners aren’t necessarily in good shape. It’s true, but there’s a reason for that. If you’re fat and your dog is fat, it probably means your diet sucks and he’s eating your leftovers. A fat dog is a good indicator of whether or not you’re taking care of yourself. Because dogs will eat anything you leave behind. So make sure you’re eating healthy.

But apart from people who abuse their dogs with the S.A.D. diet, having a dog produces opportunities to stay active. It’s also a good way for single guys to pick up chicks. Or meet new friends at the dog park. Although I’ve heard that doing it in New York can lead to awkward, viral confrontations. I think that only happens to women named Karen, though. I don’t follow the news that closely, so I may be off on the details. But in the rest of the world, it’s a good idea. And getting a dog generally makes you happier. But it doesn’t just make you happier. It can also make you slimmer. Which can…also make you happier.


Published by drilldowndiet

Formerly obese CPA/health humorist using Cronometer and FitBod to lose weight. Sharing assorted life hacks to squeeze nutrition and exercise into a busy schedule. Also on Twitter at @drilldowndiet and Facebook.

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