It’s time to put your dog to work – as your personal trainer, life coach, and nutritionist. Here are the important lessons you can learn from your pet:

  • Exercise every day. Preventive medicine expert Dr. Raul Seballos says that walking 30 minutes a day can add 7 years to your life. And since dogs love to go for walks, most dog owners have no trouble meeting that exercise goal. So, tie on your sneakers, grab their leash, and go.
  • Another healthy habit you can learn from your dog: Eat balanced meals at the same time every day. Dr. Wayne Andersen wrote Dr. A's Habits for Health. And he says watching portion sizes and eating on a regular schedule can cut calorie consumption by 40 percent. But don’t wolf down your food like most dogs do, and beg for second helpings. Research shows that it takes 20 minutes for our brains to get the “I’m full” message from our stomach, so, eating slowly helps prevent overeating.
  • This lesson is especially important: Be forgiving. Dogs don’t hold grudges. 5 minutes after they get the stink eye for chewing up your favorite shoes, a dog’s happy to cuddle up and lick your face. And being forgiving can really boost your health. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that holding a grudge is so emotionally poisonous, that it can increase your risk of depression and substance abuse.
  • And the most important lesson we can learn from our dogs is to spend time with the people we love. There’s nowhere your dog would rather be than next to you. And studies show that people who have close social relationships live longer than people who don’t. That’s because having a support system decreases stress, and boosts your immunity.