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Pets Make Great Personal Fitness Partners

Increasingly, people are finding that their personal fitness plans have gone to the dogs. And cats. Even ferrets.

Pets are the perfect workout companions. Their enthusiasm for a little outdoor activity is infectious and inspiring. Strolling about with a pet-whether it's a dog on a leash, a cat in a carrier, a snake around your neck or a ferret in your pocket-is a great way to meet other animal lovers who are outside enjoying the day too.

"Pets are proven to improve their owners' health and well-being," said Funda Alp, director of communications for the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA). "Research shows that pet owners have lower blood pressure, lower stress

levels and make fewer doctors' visits. The opportunity to get even more good health from your pet, and return the favor at the same time is easy with a fun physical fitness program."

Here are a few guidelines from the APPMA to ensure that you and your pet get the most out of a physical fitness routine:

• Boost your own energy level in the activities that you already enjoy with your pet, such as catch, frisbee or swimming. If your cat enjoys chasing string, let her chase you as you drag a string.

• If starting up a new activity, be sure to choose something appropriate for your pet's abilities, age and health. As with all fitness programs, start slowly and increase the activity level gradually.

• If you prefer indoor activities, try aerobic exercise, yoga and stretching in front of a beautiful fish-filled aquarium.

• Keep your pet's safety and comfort in mind; bring along water and treats if you'll be away from home.

To learn more about the special bond associated with people and pets, call for a free copy of "The Pets Owner's Manual" and learn about the many joys of pets. Call toll-free 800-452-1225.

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