It’s a new year and a new decade, so everyone is making fitness goals, swearing off sweets, and hitting the gym. As a dog owner, you have built-in motivation to get moving. While letting Fido out in the backyard is fine for a quick bathroom trip, the best form of exercise for you both is a walk, a game of fetch, or another form of play that will make your dog happy and keep both of you healthy.
So you’re not a gym rat and never will be. That’s okay! The good news is that your dog is already doing wonders for your health. He or she is a source of comfort and is great at combating depression and anxiety. Plus those wet-nosed furbags keep you social. Ever take your dog to a dog park and not strike up a conversation with a fellow pet parent? We didn’t think so!
Maybe you’ve let your exercise routine or daily dog walks slide since the holidays can be all-consuming. Trust us, we get it. Now that the family is gone and the decorations are back in the garage, it’s the perfect time to incorporate some new, healthier habits into your routine. You’ll find that you don’t have to do a lot to start feeling the benefits of just a little bit of exercise. And who’s a better work out partner than your dog? They always want to be around you, can’t talk, and never judge.
The Benefits of a Basic Dog Walk
The simplest form of exercise is walking your dog, whether it’s a brisk trip around the block or a leisurely stroll or hike on the weekend. Walks not only help with your dog’s digestive issues, but also provide him or her with plenty of mental stimuli while decreasing stress levels. If you have a large, hyperactive, or anxious dog, you know that oftentimes all they need to stop whining, chewing, or otherwise destroying your house is some exercise. Humans also enjoy numerous benefits from walking: being outdoors, moving muscles that probably do a lot of sitting, and enjoying a little “me” time – except with our dogs!
Regular walks provide the following benefits for both dogs and humans:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Strengthened muscles and bones
- Decreases in boredom and depression
Dogs need regular walks and exercise even more, especially if they’re kept in the house all day while their pet parents work. Added benefits for them include:
- Opportunities for socialization and training
- Helps to eliminate accidents in the house
Exposing our dogs to other people, pets, noises and environments widens their experiences and helps them become their best doggy selves.
Tips on Keeping Active with Your Dog
By involving our dogs in a regular exercise program, pet parents can have plenty of fun doing sports that they enjoy with their dogs. This prevents weight gain and unnecessary health issues that may be related to lack of exercise.
Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or the countryside, there’s no shortage of activities to do with your dog. When choosing an activity for the both of you, consider your fitness levels, time you have to spare, and of course, what will be the most fun! Some ideas include:
- Overnight adventure hiking trips
- Doga classes
- Positive dog training classes
- Agility classes
- Playing fetch
- Obstacle training
- Training for tricks
- Treasure hunts or doggy puzzles
Exercise routines need to vary to gain the maximum benefit. Doing the same thing every day may be predictable and easy, but it won’t stimulate your mind or muscles in the way varying the routine can. So, change it up when possible.
Seize every opportunity to spend quality time with your beloved four-legged family member by exercising together. In a few weeks, you’ll be healthier, happier, and wonder how you ever lived without blood-pumping daily activity.