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Adopting a healthier lifestyle is not always easy. Moms and dads who want to lose weight and get healthier often find it’s easier said than done.

One of the ways we can reach our fitness goals is to employ the buddy system, which enlists the help of a friend or family Walking Buddy member with similar fitness goals to keep us motivated as we work toward a healthier life.

But, you don’t necessarily need to lean on a brother, sister, spouse or neighbor to help you make your fitness goals a reality. Man’s best friend, who might benefit from a healthier lifestyle, too, can make just as good a partner. Here are a handful of ways you and your four-legged friend can start living a healthier, more active life.

Get more exercise. Did you know pets can decrease our blood pressure and cholesterol levels and increase our opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization? Exercising together will not only help optimize your health but also allow you to spend more time together.

Schedule activity time with your pet. Most of us schedule time for other appointments and meetings, so why not set aside some priority time for pets, too? Just like you would a more typical fitness routine, schedule daily activity time with your pet. Your pet will appreciate the extra attention, and both of you will benefit from daily physical activity together.