Exercise with Your Dog

ChrissyTis the season of New Year’s resolutions. At this time of year many people take stock of the past year and think about things they’d like to do better in the coming year. One of the most frequently set New Year’s goals is getting in shape, losing weight, staying healthy, or exercising more. If you are one of the many who is looking to get fit and stay fit this year, why not include your dog in your goal?
I always find that I’m much better at keeping my commitments if I’m responsible to someone else. Your dog is your best friend in many more ways than one, and friends don’t let friends get unhealthy and unhappy. Your dog can be your best friend in motivating you to keep your health and exercise on the ball this year.
Including your dog in your exercise activities is a great way to spend time with your pet and to keep him fit and healthy too. Helping a dog, especially young dogs, expend their energy in running and playing helps them to keep destructive behaviors in check at home. When they have a focused outlet for their energy, they will be less likely to expend it in ripping up furniture and other negative behaviors later.
The most common forms of exercise for a dog and his owner are walks or runs. The length and frequency of walks depends largely on your dog’s age, size, and health. Take time to figure out the right amount of exercise you should be getting and that your dog should be getting. You can exercise together as much as possible to keep each other on track.
If you want to run with your dog, just be sure that your paces and energy levels match. If you have a dog with a very small stride, it’s likely that you won’t be running any marathons together. You wouldn’t like to be overworked in your exercises and your dog cannot and should not be overworked in his. Know when your dog is tired and let him rest. The same goes for dogs who are older or have poor health. Exercise is meant to be helpful, not harmful. If your dog is wheezing, limping, or just seems to have low energy, don’t push them. Allow them to set the pace.
If you’re looking for more exercise beyond taking walks, you can personalize your dog’s exercises to match the strengths of your dog’s breed. For those dogs whose breed is inclined to hunting, a search and find game will play to their strengths. Some dogs are more inclined to problem solving. Others are born to run. Read up on the strengths of your dog’s breed and then devise games for you both.
Fetch is one of the standards of all dog games. So simple yet so entertaining. It’s great exercise for your dog, but not as much for you, at least if you’re playing to traditional version of fetch. There is a great way to make it a work out for both your dog and for you. After throwing the ball, you can race your dog to see who gets it first.
Another way to get involved in your dog’s exercise and get fit yourself is to make obstacle courses for the both of you to run together. The variety of challenges and activities will keep your dog sharp and will keep you limber as you climb, crawl, hop, and maneuver your way through the course.
Take advantage of stairs and hills while you’re out on your walks or even at and around your house. If you find yourself cooped up inside by bad weather, you can still make a game and exercise out of climbing the stairs. Start on your own if your dog doesn’t seem interested. If he senses a game of chase or racing, he’ll probably come around.
Finally, you can try to keep things interesting for yourself and for your dog as you explore new parks and terrains. Variety is good in any work out. If you take the same route every day, you are conditioning yourself and your dog to just one set of exercises. If you take new routes, varying lengths of walks, and seek out different terrain, you are helping your body, and your dog’s, to be active in a variety of situations and circumstances. You will exercise different muscle groups in different sequences, which will lead to better overall fitness.
So this new year, do yourself and your best friend a favor. Exercise together!



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