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As we’ve entered the new year, many of us probably have a goal to maintain a healthy and active fitness routine. While our first thought may be to go to the gym or try a new spin class, why not switch it up and do some workouts your dog can join in on too? 

Exercising to maintain a healthy lifestyle is just as important for dogs as it is for us. Our furry friends need a combination of physical activity and mental stimulation. Best of all, working out with your dog is mutually beneficial. Aside from the physical benefits, exercising with your dog can help strengthen your bond, increase your motivation, improve your overall mental health and increase your daily activity levels. 

If you’re looking for some fun workouts to keep you and your dog healthy and happy, here are a few ideas. 

Hiking 

Hiking with your dog is a great way to break away from your usual walking route and change up the scenery. Who better to enjoy the great outdoors with than your trustee companion? When deciding on a hiking trail, make sure you check the park’s guidelines prior to going to ensure it’s dog-friendly. 

When on the hike, it’s important to follow and practice the National Parks B.A.R.K rule:

  • Bag your pet’s waste
  • Always leash your pet
  • Respect wildlife
  • Know where you can go

You’ll also want to make sure your dog is physically equipped for the hike you plan to go on. If you’re unsure how they’ll do, prep them beforehand with longer walks or runs to help increase their stamina. While on the hike, make sure you’re prepared by wearing proper hiking gear, bringing a first aid kit and having plenty of water with you. 

Running 

If you’re looking to amp up your daily walks, running is a great place to start. As mentioned, running is a great way to build up you and your dog’s stamina. Begin with a five to ten-minute walk then ease into a light jog, making sure to keep and slow and steady pace that works for you and your dog. If you’re new to running, try running in two-minute intervals and working up to a pace that’s comfortable. 

When running with your dog, make sure you have a proper pair of running shoes and a sturdy leash. For runs, waist leashes work best so you are hands-free and don’t have any strain on your upper body from pulling on a leash.  

Always make sure to check the weather conditions when going on a run with your pup. Dogs are prone to heat exhaustion and the cement can become too hot for their paws. If you’re doing a run on a hot day, try running in the morning or late evening when temperatures cool down a bit.  

Swimming 

Swimming is a great workout to burn off energy and reduce anxiety and stress. It’s also great for improving cardiovascular health—for dogs and ourselves! This exercise is great for all dogs, but it’s one that’s really great for senior dogs since it’s a low-impact exercise. If your dog is comfortable around water, try doing laps and having them swim alongside you. You can also throw a toy or ball into the pool and have your dog jump in and get it. 

Exercising with your dog is especially great for those with busy schedules—you both get in your daily activity and get to spend some quality time together! For more exercises and tips for keep working out with your dog safely, check out the visual guide below. 

photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/aBHVFZnVaZQ

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