It’s no secret that exercise is good for you. It can do wonders for your muscular strength, heart health, and energy levels and reduce stress. The good news is that when your dog exercises regularly, it will enjoy the same benefits.
Even better yet, exercising together with your furry friend can strengthen the bond between the two of you, inspiring a long and healthy life together. Incorporating your four-legged friend into your exercise routine may sound daunting, but it’s worth considering for the health and happiness of both you and your pup.
Before You Begin
First, consult with health professionals to ensure you’re both healthy enough for exercise. Let your doctor know if you plan to do anything more rigorous than a casual walk. When it comes to the furry ones, run your plans by their veterinarian no matter what. For example, puppies should not endure anything of high impact while their bones and joints are in the vital development stage. On the other hand, senior dogs may need a more low-impact activity. Whatever your pet’s particular needs may be, your vet can help you devise a plan that will keep your pup healthy and happy.
After you’ve consulted with the health professionals and you and your furry companion are fit and ready for some exercise, make sure you have the right gear for your activities. Some dogs are susceptible to extreme temperatures (hot and cold). Make sure you bring a doggy bowl with you to keep both you and your pup hydrated. If the temperature is too harsh, make sure your dog has protective clothing to keep them safe.
Plan ahead. If you create a morning walking routine, consider an august smart lock to easily lock and unlock your house without the need for your keys. Simplifying your system will give you peace of mind and the momentum to continue.
You can also invest in a dog GPS collar to make sure you know where your pup is at, at all times. The more prepared you are, the more you’ll be able to enjoy your workout routine and keep up the healthy habit.
Start With a Walk
Regardless of your current fitness level, a simple walk is a great way to start your new routine. The American Heart Association says that 150 minutes of walking per week is ideal for a healthy heart, so a 25-minute walk every day will get you well past this weekly goal.
If your dog has just recently come into your life, walking is an excellent way for you two to bond. Keeping them on a sturdy leash and teaching them new commands like “heel” as you walk and “sit” while you’re waiting to cross the street will allow you to begin communicating and trusting each other. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water for both you and your furry friend!
Get More Advanced
If you’re adventurous and your pup is healthy enough for dynamic exercise, the possibilities are endless. Hiking is a popular pastime among pet parents, and you may even find a hiking group in your area that welcomes canine companions.
Incorporate your dog into your yoga routine by holding them while you stretch or having them test your balance as you hold a pose. If you prefer strength training, try swapping out your dumbbells for your doggy. You’ll get the physical benefit, and your pup will be thrilled to be spending time with you.
Aquatic activities are a favorite among many dogs, and simply swimming with your pup can be a wonderful bonding experience. If you’re both more adventurous, try kayaking, paddleboarding, or even surfing with your water-loving breed.
With any new exercises, take it slowly as you introduce these new activities. Let your pup know that you’re there to support them and keep them safe. Trying new activities together is a fun way to secure a bond for life.
Consider the Benefits
In addition to the physical benefits of exercise, the mental and emotional benefits are plentiful too. For you, regular exercise reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, and it can do the same for your four-legged companion.
When dogs are physically or mentally under-stimulated, they can develop bad habits due to their pent-up energy. These behaviors can include chewing, digging, biting, and frantically running around the house. Dogs do not want to behave this way, and they certainly don’t want to disappoint you, so if your pup is acting out, try increasing your exercise routine. Allow them to get that energy out in a healthy way so you can both relax later.
Enjoy a Routine
If you’ve struggled to maintain a consistent exercise routine in the past, a dog can help you stay on track. Dogs are creatures of habit, so after just a couple of days of routine exercise, they’ll begin to expect it and will gently (or not so gently) remind you when it’s time to go for a run or hit the beach.
When we’re responsible for ourselves alone, it’s easy to make excuses. However, when we’re accountable for the health and well-being of another life, we have a sense of duty to our companions, and we won’t let them down.
Exercising with your dog is a beautiful way to bond while keeping you both healthy and robust. Add an extra walk or a trip to the park into your routine and enjoy the benefits of having a happy, loyal, exhausted pup to snuggle when you get home.
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