Working out with your pets is good for both of you. Almost half of all dogs in the U.S. are overweight, so team up to lose weight together. These are some ideas for working out with dogs and other animals.
Benefits of Working Out With Pets
Get fit together. Depending on their age and other factors, most dogs need at least 45 minutes of exercise daily. Experts recommend that people engage in physical activity for a half hour or more at least 3 times a week.
Exercise more consistently. Studies show that people were more likely to stick to an exercise program when their dog was involved. Your motivation will be stronger when you’re having fun.
Increase bonding. Spending time together with your pets improves your relationship. Many activities also provide opportunities to reinforce training.
Reduce unwanted behaviors. Boredom is often to blame when pets behave badly. Fetching a Frisbee will divert your dog from chewing up your furniture or digging up your garden.
Working Out With Dogs
Check with your veterinarian. Schedule checkups with your doctor and your veterinarian before you get started. It’s especially important if you’ve been sedentary up until now or if either of you are seniors.
Pick the right breed. Ensure your dog fits your lifestyle. Some breeds tolerate hot or cold weather better. Working breeds will relish keeping up with the most ardent fitness fanatic.
Watch for overheating. Dogs cannot sweat, so watch for signs of heat exhaustion. If you see excessive panting and loss of balance, give them water and rest in a shady spot.
Bike in safe areas. There are conflicting opinions about whether it’s safe to bike or roller blade with a dog. Devices that tie a dog to a wheeled vehicle could be dangerous if you take a spill. Stick to soft surfaces and safe routes if you want to try it.
Control the leash. Keeping a leash in your hand provides more security than tying it to your wrist or waist. Train your dog to obey voice commands too.
Take a walk. Daily walks are an easy and effective way to strengthen your heart and bones and improve your overall well being. Use them as the centerpiece of your program.
Go running. Most dogs are better designed for short bursts of activity rather than long runs. If you want to jog, build up to longer distances gradually, include time for warming up and cooling down, and watch for signs of over exertion.
Try cross country skiing. Skijooring classes will teach you both to ski. Your dog will usually need to weigh at least 35 pounds so that he can pull you with a harness.
Play games. Add variety with interactive toys and agility courses. Buy equipment or build your own hurdles and tunnels.
Working Out With Other Animals
Entertain your cat. Cats need stimulation too, but most games suitable for them burn few calories for humans. Enjoy some laser tag and then go hit the gym.
Lose weight with horseback riding. Riding a horse is a great whole body workout because you flex your muscles to maintain your balance. Controlling a galloping horse burns about as many calories as running.
Be prudent about exotic animals. Some unusual pets, like spiders, are relatively easy to care for but contribute little to your physical training. On the other hand, think carefully before you commit to bringing home a monkey who will be very demanding in terms of exercise and companionship.
Live a Long, Happy Life
A more active lifestyle helps you and your furry loved ones live a longer and healthier life. Simple daily walks may be all you need to shape up or you can diversify your routine with other games and sports.