Some fitness partners flake out, miss workouts, or make excuses. But here's a partner that won't: your dog. New fitness classes for out-of-shape people and their pets are popping up across the country (to find out if any are near you, review our list of the Best Pet-Friendly Fitness Classes). And it's about time: More than 52 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention's 2012 National Pet Obesity Survey. Compare that to the stats for their owners: About one-third of Americans are obese, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control.
Working out with your dog doesn't just benefit your health, though. It can be a real treat for your pet--and for you. "A dog is the best motivator you'll ever have," says Tricia Montgomery, founder and president of K9 Fit Club, a Hinsdale, IL-based fitness club for people and their pets. "All they want to do is spend time with you and please you," she says. "They look forward to it." And although they won't judge you for skipping workouts, it's tough to say no when you have to face a wagging tail.
Image via Getty Images: Mike Kemp