Man's Best Friend (And Personal Trainer)


YOUR blog contributors, Dr. Jim Sallis, Dr. Thom McKenzie and Mr. Paul Rosengard (YOURS TRULY) have been conducting SPARK research and disseminating those findings worldwide (with the help of MANY of our friends) since 1989.

In the weeks and months to come, we hope to share stories of what we’ve learned, people we’ve met, and how our work-life experiences have shaped the thoughts we have today. Our observations will cover a variety of public health topics: Childhood obesity, physical activity promotion, coordinated school health, healthy eating, best practices and resources, the latest research, behavior and environmental change, and much more.

We’ll tag team this task and have a different contributor each week. Please plan to join us every Wednesday when a new blog is posted!
Man’s Best Friend (And Personal Trainer)

Wendy (my much better half who you met in previous entries) and I added Scout, a Labrador puppy, to our family last June. Since she’s a 3rd grade teacher (Wendy, not Scout) we wanted to get a puppy at the beginning of summer knowing there would be many lessons to learn (Scout, not us — at least that’s what we thought…) and the time to learn them.

We had never raised a puppy together before, so Scout was a very new adventure. Sure, I have stories to tell about crate training, housebreaking (the wet and smelly housebreaking and the other kind Scout tries from time to time) and socialization (or lack thereof) with other people and dogs, but since I’m a physical educator, let’s look at a quality of Scout’s that I’m particularly found of. The girl is a 4-legged exercise machine.

Now MY activity regimen was set before Scout’s arrival – running and lifting weights on alternate days. But Scout has changed Wendy’s life for the better. Wendy comes home for work and takes Scout for a walk every day, 5 days a week. She didn’t use to do this before, in fact, Wendy was your classic weekend exerciser. Scout is her motivation and together, they are quite a pair. Wendy feels better, is less stressed, sleeps well, and really has a better quality of life because of Scout and their daily constitution. Yea Scout! Yea Wendy!

A friend gave us a very sweet book called, Puppy MIracles that provides the following ”advice” from a very perceptive puppy (the author is anonymous):

  1. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them
  2. Run, romp, and play daily
  3. Never pass up an opportunity to go for a joyride
  4. Allow the experience of fresh air and wind in your face to be pure ecstasy
  5. Thrive on attention and let people touch you
  6. On warm days, stop to lie on your back in the grass
  7. When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body
  8. No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.
  9. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you’ve had enough.
  10. Be loyal

Scout is 10 months old now. These are lessons that Scout teaches/reinforces with us often. We love her and are grateful she’s in our lives, enriching them everyday. She’s right by my feet as I type this note, probably dreaming about her next run on the trail…

Questions: Does anyone have a ”Dog as exercise machine story” you’d like to share? Besides critters, has there been any other influencers that have gotten you off the couch and into a consistent movement regimen?

We’d like to hear from YOU.