Regular exercise is an important part of staying physically and mentally healthy. Besides helping you burn calories and stay in shape, frequent workouts improve your mood, boost your energy and lessen your chances of experiencing a variety of diseases and poor health conditions. Interestingly enough, exercise can also benefit your canine companion in the same ways. Regardless of breed, a well-exercised dog is healthier, happier and less likely to develop behavioral problems, as they’re able to regularly release any pent up stress or energy.
Despite the similar benefits, you might think you and your pet’s fitness regime are two separate things. After all, you can’t ask your dog to join you in certain sports like power boxing, and your dog can’t toss a ball for you to catch. However, there are ways to include your pup in your workouts to give the both of you a proper amount of exercise.
Exercising with your beloved companion also strengthens your bond with them due to frequent quality time and proximity.
Whether you want to spend more time with your beloved canine or you’re a pet parent trying to manage both you and your dog’s fitness despite your busy schedule, you can engage in a lot of fun activities that can help you accomplish these goals with ease.
Let Your Pooch Run with You
One simple but effective workout you can share with your dog is running. A good run with your dog gets your hearts pumping, which improves cardiovascular strength and endurance. If your dog isn’t capable of keeping up with the intense pace, you can always slow down with some brisk walking or jogging. Plus, you don’t need many resources to accomplish this activity, other than a dependable leash.
If you want an appealing leash for your canine that’s also comfortable to use during running sessions, consider purchasing a customizable dog running leash. This type of leash fits snugly around your torso, freeing up your hands while you run and lessening the strain that would normally arise from holding onto regular leashes.
Take a Scenic Hike with Your Canine
If you live near a place that provides hiking trails, a great alternative to running is going hiking with your dog. Keeping a brisk walking pace on an inclined hiking trail requires more physical exertion compared to walking on even terrain, which makes for a powerful cardio activity. Hiking also provides a scenic route that allows your furry companion to interact with all sorts of natural sights and smells while you both take in the fresh mountain air.
Prior to starting a hike, it’s important to take a look at your chosen area, just to make sure your dog can handle the environment. Senior or overweight dogs might have difficulty walking on a steeper incline with rougher terrain. Additionally, introducing your pet to an outdoor environment means taking the necessary precautions to prevent them from catching fleas or ticks that often hide in unkempt grass, so be sure to apply anti-flea and tick products on your dog before setting out on your adventure.
Play Fetch...with a Twist
Who says that only your dog benefits from a game of fetch? You don’t have to stand in one place and toss a ball by hand. If you’re into tennis and are looking to practice your serving techniques, your dog can catch the ball and make a perfect practice partner. If you’re more into sports like ultimate frisbee, your canine can definitely join in the fun. Throwing a frisbee into the air encourages your dog to perform the high jumps necessary to catch it, and if you want to make things more exciting, you can play against a team by joining frisbee competitions made for dogs and their owners.
If you enjoy playing soccer, you can score a goal with your furry friend as well. Though you can opt to use a regular soccer ball, certain pet stores sell soccer balls specially designed for dogs to keep your playtime safe. Find a wide enough space for you and your dog to play in, like a field or park. Kick the ball and let your furry friend chase it and pass it back to you. You’ll be amazed to see the different ways your pooch can roll the ball around, whether by using their paws or snout.
Take a Refreshing Swim with Your Furry Pal
Another effective workout is swimming and it can provide you both with a calorie-burning workout that’s especially refreshing during hotter weather. It also helps strengthen the muscles, lungs and cardiovascular systems while still being easier on the joints compared to activities like running.
If you have access to a dog-friendly swimming pool or lake, why not put on your bathing suit and jump in with your pup? This is a particularly fun exercise for breeds who were built to swim, such as Labradors or Golden Retrievers. For dogs that aren’t accustomed to swimming yet, it’s best to slowly ease them into the water first before you start doing any intensive workouts.
When thinking about how to include your pup in a workout or activity, it’s necessary to consider their current fitness levels and needs. While some dogs might not be built to swim, they might find pleasure in simple running or a game of frisbee. Your dog will always be happy with you by their side, so the most important thing is to share an activity with them that’s safe and good for both your health.