Get fit with your dog. Whether you just got a new dog or are looking for a way to spice up your workout regimen, incorporating man’s best friend into your fitness routine has numerous benefits for you and your canine.
Here are a few suggestions for dog-friendly activities and essential gear to get you started.
Benefits of fitness with Fido
The benefits of exercise are well acknowledged: weight control; reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers; strengthening bones and muscles; and improving mental and emotional health. Your dog benefits from exercise in similar ways.
Exercising together has additional benefits for you and your pup. Dogs give you the motivation to go out and be active as they wag their tails by the door with the leash in their mouths. Your dog is the perfect workout buddy that never cancels last minute, shows up late or complains about how hard the workout is.
Exercising with your dog builds your canine’s confidence and trust and strengthens and promotes your bond, all while creating a happier environment at home where your dog is less likely to exhibit attention-seeking and destructive behavior, unruliness, and hyperactivity.
If running with your dog is not your fitness style, don’t fret. There are a variety of dog-friendly activities and workouts that you may have not considered. Hiking with your dog through a canine-friendly trail kills two birds with one stone. Not only is hiking a great cardio workout but spending time in nature is great for your mental well-being and fights symptoms of stress and anxiety.
If your ideal workout involves wheels, a fitness regimen using a bike, longboard or roller skates is perfect for you and your dog, especially if you have a very athletic dog who needs those extra miles. Have your dog run beside you while you cruise along on your ride.
Dog-friendly workouts aren’t limited to land, especially if you have a swimmer. Canines are great companions on stand-up paddle boards, kayaks or canoes. You get an excellent workout while they lounge under the sun or hop in for the occasional swim.
If you’re looking at all these activities thinking that nothing compares to your workout in the gym, dog-friendly exercise classes such as outdoor boot camp and yoga at the park are what you and your canine need. These programs combine high-intensity exercises building strength, increasing your cardio and improving your balance while your dog also gets in on the fun with obedience drills and agility exercises.
Beginning a new workout regimen with your dog requires some gear beyond your average leash and waste bags. If you’re going to spend a lot of time outdoors, it’s important to think of protection from the elements. Invest in a protective rain jacket, use sunscreen and protect your eyes with high-quality sunglasses that have multiple lens replacements for all your favorite activities.
For your dog, a sherpa pack is perfect for long hikes, allowing him to carry his own water and supplies. If your new fitness routine involves harsh environments such as sand or hot pavements, apply paw wax on your dog’s paws to protect them from damage and discomfort.
For water activities, invest in a flotation jacket for both you and your dog, even if you’re both strong swimmers — safety first.