11/29/2017 16:46 EST | Updated 11/30/2017 13:19 EST

My Adorable Pup Showed Me The Joys And Benefits Of Daily Movement

Laughter is medicine, movement is critical, and stress relief is a must for a long life. You can do all of things by yourself, but it's more fun with a dog.

Mike Sudoma Photography

If you didn't love dogs before, which I can't believe you didn't, you are going to now. CNN just published a story based on research out of Sweden, and it's wonderful news!

People living alone can reduce their risk of death by 33 per cent and their risk of death by heart disease by 36 per cent, just by having a dog. Outstanding news, right?

Preventable diseases are slowly taking over the list of things that end our lives. Heart attacks, stroke, complications from diabetes, and certain forms of cancer are ending our lives before our time. Simply walking, and eating healthy can significantly improve your chances of avoiding these illnesses. Who's better than a dog to get even the least eager person outside and walking?

Before this puppy came into my life, I never knew the joy of a simple walk.

In the 1980s and '99s, there was a huge boom in gyms and fitness centers, and an entire generation was raised on magazines with images of super fit people. We began to associate health and wellness with weight loss and sex appeal. We moved away from living healthy, and started creating a culture that revolved around building sex appeal. Instagram has taken this to a whole new level, and experts on healthy living are being ignored and replaced by people with nice butts and six packs. We have a generation that talks about carbs like they are the devil, thinks cheat meals are a part of a solid meal plan, and eats protein like it's the only macronutrient worth eating. There needs to be a change, and it needs to happen quickly as we move towards a world wide obesity epidemic.

How can a dog help this? Well let me introduce you to my puppy, Gracie. Yes, I made her an Instagram account. If you own a dog, you get it. Plus, just look at how cute she is.

I made my dog an Instagram account and have her listed as a fitness model. My goal is to show her off just being active and being outdoors as much as possible. That's health, and it's the most important part of any fitness lifestyle.

Before this puppy came into my life, I never knew the joy of a simple walk. My exercise came from the gym, and it still does because I love it there. It's fitness, but I was missing something health-related. I was missing movement in my daily life. An hour in the gym, followed by a sedentary lifestyle isn't the best thing for health. We need to move often and get our blood flowing to be healthy.

Until I took Gracie for a walk in the forest, I didn't understand how a walk could reduce stress. My puppy enthusiastically chases the same squirrel, and chases any thrown stick like it's a million-dollar lottery ticket. That's what exercise is supposed to be: it's supposed to be fun. And according to Diabetes Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the Cancer Society, a 30-minute walk is enough for health benefits. Any thing you do above that is a bonus. A dog being walked every day is a step towards saving your life.

Think of a dog as the ultimate life coach.

We want to reduce stress, improve cardiovascular function and have fun living. Speaking of fun, one last plus in the "dog life" column. Dogs can make us laugh pretty much constantly, and they are cute. As soon as I brought Gracie into my life, I found myself online checking out dog stores, parks and strange accounts on Twitter. The internet is full of hilarious dog content. I found this gem on Twitter and Instagram — if you need a break in your day, you've got to check out We Rate Dogs. It is one of the most hilarious accounts out there. Matt Nelson created the account and even though he has a book, clothing line, and an upcoming calendar all centered around rating dogs, you can see his sense of humour will take him far.

Laughter is the best medicine, movement is critical to health, and stress relief is a must if you want to live a long life. You can do all of things by yourself, but it's more fun with a dog. Think of a dog as the ultimate life coach. They've officially been proven by science to lengthen our lives.

Whatever you do, just be kind to animals and people.

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