Want to improve your health and the health of your dog? Exercise is the answer. Studies show that regular exercise helps lower risk for many diseases and increases low long you live. This is true for humans as well as dogs. What better way to improve your fitness than exercising with your canine friend.
According to DogLab.com your dog is the ultimate fitness tool.
Walking is one of the best and safest exercises there is for just about everyone. The American Heart Association recommends humans walk 150 minutes a week for general health. Let’s break that down, that is five 30 minutes per week. That doesn’t seem to daunting for you or your dog. If 30 minutes seem to not work with your schedule you can break it into ten 15 minute walks. How about morning and evening. All you need is a leash and a pair of comfy shoes for you.
A good walk is important for the health of your dog both physically and mentally. Dogs love to explore new smells, sights and sounds. Smells, sights and sounds are mentally stimulating to your dog. A dog that is well exercised both mentally and physically is a better behaved dog.
In addition to walking you can find other activities depending on the breed of your dog and the health of your dog. A Bulldog or Yorkie may not be up for as much exercise as a Sheltie or German Shepherd. If you have an active breed that requires more exercise you can up your game to jogging, cycling, or rollerblading.
Canine Exercise Health Benefits:
- Improves Behavior
- Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight – Guards against obesity.
- Improves and Retains Muscle Mass
- Maintains Flexibility
- Improves Joint Function
Most dogs need 30 to 45 minutes of activity per day.
50% of dogs in the U.S. weigh too much. Like people, overweight dogs are at risk for health problems, from arthritis to heart disease.
Let’s keep in mind we are wanting to improve our own fitness as well. So we need activities that are compatible to our fitness level and our dogs.
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Exercise For Us & Them
Start off slow. There is no need to try for a 5 mile run when you or your pet don’t normally walk for a mile. Take is easy and add intensity and length as your fitness levels increase.
Here is a list of exercises that you can consider to add to improve your fitness and your dog’s fitness.
Walking, jogging or running. This is a great workout for you and your pet. Base how far and how fast you go on your health and the health of your pet.
Swimming. If you and your dog both love the water. Nothing could be better than swimming together. Swimming is great for dogs and people that have joint pain or struggle with arthritis. Swimming is low impact exercise but it works tones of muscle groups and your heart and lungs.
Hiking. Hiking can be more work than just walking down your sidewalk. Uneven terrain and a natural environment can keep you and your dog engaged. Dogs love new smells and their is nothing like the great outdoors to provide lots of stimulation.
Agility training. When you think of agility training you generally think of the workout for your dog. However, this is a workout for trainers as well. You will be running through the course to encourage and provide treats for a job well done. This would be exercise for you and your dog.
Yoga or Doga is yoga for you and your dog. I think this sounds like chaos. But if yoga stretching is what you love finding a class to do this with your dog could be wonderful for both of you. Yoga calms, improves flexibility and helps with balance.
Frisbee is great fun with retriever breeds. If you enjoy and nice open field and want to play with your pet you can switch up a regular game of fetch with some frisbee. Some cities even have competitions for you and your dog.
Rollerblading or cycling can be good for dogs that need lots of exercise. You need to have a well trained dog that will not yank on the leash or run off after a squirrel. But if your dog breed is suited for this both of these are excellent workouts for people and pets.
If you want to find out how many calories you are burning doing a variety of activities: Try HealthSurgeon’s Calories Burned Calculator!
To Get Started:
- Establish a routine.
- Don’t overdo. Be aware of your pets activity level and health.
- Make sure you have plenty of water for you and your pet.
- Be mindful of the weather (extreme heat or cold)
- Protect paws if necessary. In the heat try and stay off of pavement or sand. In the winter check paws for ice build up.
Before beginning any exercise routine it is a good idea to check in with your health care professional. Now that you are exercising with your dog, you also need to check in with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is healthy enough for the exercises you plan.