More than one-third of households in the U.S. (that’s over 43 million) own a dog.
If you’re part of this group, you know how much energy taking care of a dog requires. From feeding and playtime to daily walks, there might not be a lot of time left over for you to get your own workouts in.
The good news, though, is that you don’t have to choose between exercising your dog and getting exercise in yourself. You can combine your workout with Fido’s and kill two bird with one stone.
Read on for some simple tips that will help you exercise with your dog at your side.
Why Exercise with Your Dog?
There are a lot of benefits associated with making your dog your workout partner. Here are some of the greatest perks you can enjoy:
Healthy Dog, Healthy You
In the same way that humans require regular exercise in order to feel their best, dogs need it, too.
There’s a lot of variance in the amount of exercise that dogs need. Vets are all in agreement, though, that exercise plays an important role in their overall health and wellness.
Dogs that exercise on a regular basis are less likely to be overweight or obese (and less likely to deal with the health problems that accompany carrying extra weight).
They’re also less likely to develop health problems like heart disease or diabetes (the same goes for humans), and they’re often better behaved and less inclined to engage in destructive behaviors.
Bond While Burning Calories
Exercising with your dog on a regular basis also provides you with an opportunity to bond while also burning calories.
If you feel that your busy schedule prevents you from spending as much quality time as you’d like with your dog, why not exercise together so you can have the best of both worlds?
Opportunities to Socialize
If you exercise outdoors with your dog, they also have an opportunity to socialize with other dogs whose owners might have the same intentions as you.
Regular socializing helps to improve your dog’s behavior and minimizes the likelihood that they’ll be aggressive or anxious around other dogs. This is especially important for puppies that are still developing.
How to Start Exercising with Your Dog
It’s definitely a great idea for you to exercise with your dog (especially if, at the moment, neither of you is getting the amount of exercise you should be). Here are some tips to help you get started:
Go for Long Walks
One of the easiest ways to get out and get active with your dog is to go for a walk together.
Don’t just complete the obligatory loop around the block so your dog can take care of business before rushing back into the house. Try to extend your walk so that it’s a challenge for both of you.
You might even want to venture out of your neighborhood for a change of scenery. Head to a local park or walking path to shake things up and provide yourself and your dog with some new challenges.
Add in Some Jogging
If you feel that walking by itself is too easy, try adding in some bursts of jogging.
If your dog is young and energetic enough to handle picking up the pace (and doesn’t have any health problems that might make this too difficult for them), this is a good way for them to burn some extra calories and burn off some extra energy.
It’s an especially good option if you have an energetic puppy that is cooped up all day while you’re at work.
Bring a Toy Along
The next time you head out on a walk or take a trip to the park, try bringing a toy along with you. You can play fetch with your dog and squeeze in some resistance training exercises at the same time.
For example, you can do a squat every time they bring the toy back for you to throw. Or you can do a few push-ups after you throw the toy while you’re waiting for them to bring it back.
These simple exercises add up over time and come together to form a very effective workout.
Take a Hike
If your dog’s up for it, try taking them on a local hiking trail for an epic adventure (just make sure the trail is dog-friendly first).
Hiking allows you and your dog to enjoy the great outdoors and take on a nice challenge. Start with a short, simple hike and work your way up to ones that are steeper and more challenging.
Hop on Your Bike
Many people like to bike while having their dog job alongside them.
For those who have very energetic dogs but aren’t into running themselves, this is a good compromise. You get to get your heart rate up without pounding the pavement, and your dog gets to run to their heart’s content.
Give “Doga” a Try
Don’t forget about the benefits of restorative exercise, too. Yoga is a great option for when you need to stretch out your sore muscles and fit in a gentler type of workout. You can even get your dog involved.
Look for a local “doga” class in your area, or try some simple stretches with your furry friend at your side.
They make great props and provide excellent moral support. You’ll also be much more like to stick to your workout plan and develop a regular yoga practice if your dog is counting on you to be consistent.
Get in Your First Dog-Friendly Workout Today
As you can see, there are tons of ways you can exercise with your dog.
If you’re short a busy person and can’t separate your workout from your quality time with your furry friend, why not combine the two? Give one of these workout options a try today so you can break a sweat and give your dog the exercise they need.
Don’t forget to check out some of our other fitness-related articles today. If you’re in need of more workout inspiration, they’re great places to turn for more ideas.