Without a doubt, exercise is key to human health. Not only does it keep you fit, it also helps with mental and emotional health as well. But did you know that exercise is just as important for your pet’s health as it is for yours? Combining your exercise programs can be a fantastic way to get outdoors, breathe in some fresh air and spend a bit of time with your best buddy.
Dogs are the perfect workout buddies
Dogs are the perfect partners for a workout. For starters they’ll never tell you they’re too busy or not in the mood to exercise with you.
When it comes to your pet, exercise keeps them healthy, agile and limber. Just like exercise releases endorphins in humans, it also genuinely makes your dog happy. According to a recent survey, having a pet increases your likelihood of getting outside and getting physical. In fact, 93% of survey respondents said that their pet has had a major impact on their physical health.
It also helps with their weight control. Now no one likes talking about their weight, but an overweight pet just isn’t healthy. Not to mention it’s harder for pets to communicate when they’re not feeling well. Regular exercise will help them maintain a healthy weight. In the same vein, walking your dog helps with their digestive system.
Mentally, getting outdoors and regular walks help with your dog’s destructive nature (and let’s face it, they all have it). Let them run around and have something constructive to do; it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll see less chewing, digging and scratching when at home. It’s all about effectively stimulating and helping a dog get rid of their excess energy – so they won’t take it out on your pillows.
Regular exercise can also help with a timid pet as it helps build their confidence. As you walk, your pet will be exposed to different dogs, cats and humans as well as other animals, and with you in their sight, they’re more likely to feel at ease with their new surroundings.
Involving your dog in your exercise regime
Who says the only form of exercise you can do with your dog is walking? Besides from a long, brisk walk, there are several other exercises can you do with your pup.
Depending on how well trained your dog is, they can be a part of your calisthenics workout too. The following exercises are ideal if you have a large backyard or can utilize a nearby park.
- Sit ups – Starting in this position, hold your dog’s favorite fetch toy, lower yourself then raise yourself back to starting position. As you reach the start position, throw the toy for your dog to fetch and complete the sit up in time for them to bring it back to you.
- Sprints – Using their preferred toy, throw it as you would playing fetch. But rather than letting your dog chase after it themselves, race them to see who can get the toy first.
- Stairs – Tackle a large staircase for a rewarding leg workout with your partner in crime while on their lead. Switch up your speed and stance to mix up your workout. Just make sure not to trip up your dog as you do it.
- Walking lunges – Throw the fetch toy in the direction you are lunging. Once your dog scampers off to retrieve the toy, begin your lunges. Have them drop the toy at your feet once they’ve retrieved it and repeat the process.
Other calisthenics exercises like dips, pull ups and push ups may be harder to include your dog in. However, every pooch is different in terms of their behavior and their training. If you find a way that works for the both of you and is safe to do, then go for it!
If you want to switch up the scenery for your workouts there are also some great off-the-beaten track options:
- Head out to the woods or nearby national park for a hike – just remember to check whether dogs are allowed and the rules around keeping him on leash.
- Head to the nearest dog-friendly beach and let your dog not only run amok on the sand, but also dive through the waves
Keep in mind that dogs get dehydrated too, so be wary of your dog’s limits. If they’re panting fast and having trouble keeping up with you then it’s time to call it a day and help them cool off with a bowl of water. Just as humans need to breathe while exercising, dogs also need appropriate oxygen flow to get the most out of their workout, so make sure they are exercising at a pace that allows them to breathe properly. Remember, an excitable dog can get tired easily if they’re not used to regular exercise.
Additionally, if your dog is overweight a high-intensity workout like those listed above won’t be good for them straight off the bat. Start them off with daily walks or go swimming together, as low impact exercises like these are great starting points for improving their fitness as well as your own.
Shay is a deep thinker, an avid lover of dogs and sucks at Goldeneye. Since he’s been able to put crayon to paper, there’s nothing Shayen has loved more than telling a good story. He enjoys inspiring readers on the subjects of healthy living, self-improvement and making a difference.