Which will make you happier: a dog or a gym membership?

Whether looking for exercise or happiness, hounds take off the pounds better than the gym.

Pick the dog!
Pick the dog!
Since I have been teaching Happiness 101 for so long, I am getting a reputation for being “the happy guy” or “the happy therapist”. As a result, when clients, students, friends or family members run across an article about Happiness, they immediately think of me. I love this and have been the recipient of many articles, websites and books about Happiness. This is wonderful not only because it makes me more proficient in the topic of Happiness, but raises my level of Happiness as well. In the January 17th edition of Parade Magazine (you know, the little insert inside your Sunday paper) there was a little article about ways to happily get fit, comparing those who get a dog with people who get a gym membership. Physical exercise is the number one Happiness Booster (Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness). According to researchers in Great Britain, people who own a dog spend approximately eight hours per week walking their pooch. Comparatively, those that spent their New Year’s resolution getting a gym membership average two hours in the gym per week. Not only are they getting more exercise but 86% of dog owners reported they like playing with their dog, while only 16% of gym goers said they like going to the gym. We all know the follow-through on New Year’s resolutions can be tough too. 46% of gym goers admitted to making excuses not to going to the gym but only one third of dog owners opt out of taking Fido for his walk. So, if you got a New Year’s gym membership and your resolve is beginning to flag three weeks, consider stopping by the Humane Society and picking out a hound. Statistics are betting, you’ll be Happy you did.

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