How To Work Out With Your Dog
The obesity epidemic that’s sweeping the nation isn’t only limited to humans; it seems our dogs are piling on the pounds too. In fact, WebMD suggests that up to 50% of dogs in America are overweight, which unfortunately can lead to other medical issues for our beloved pooches.
So, how can we improve our health and that of the hairy members of our family? (And I don’t mean Uncle Frank)
There are tons of ways to make sure our dogs get enough exercise while simultaneously burning some calories of our own, and we’re going to look at a few of our favorite workouts that can help everyone get a little fitter.
1. Frisbee or Fetch
If there’s one thing that your dog loves as much as having his belly rubbed or scarfing down a huge bowl of food, it’s a game of fetch.
A dog’s intrinsic desire to chase and retrieve comes from its heritage, which is integrated into its DNA. Long before dogs were domesticated, they were bred for work, to ‘fetch’ specific things for their owners. It’s second nature to them.
While your dog is getting an excellent workout, sprinting, jumping, and catching, you can burn some calories in whatever way is best for you.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can do some gentle jogging as your pet chases his ball, but simple walking will continue to burn calories. Throwing the frisbee or ball will give you a decent arm/shoulder workout, but be sure to occasionally change arms, so you don’t create muscle imbalances or suffer repetitive strain injuries.
Don’t worry if you can’t throw properly with your weaker arm; no one will be laughing at you.
Walking is the most underrated exercise on earth, not only for your furry best friend but for you too. Going for a walk has a wide range of benefits, with few, if any, drawbacks.
No matter your fitness level, walking burns calories, it’s low impact, easy to recover from, and on good days, it’s a lovely thing to do. You can upscale or downscale your walk depending on your needs too. If you want to burn calories faster, strap on a backpack and fill it with something heavy. Problems with your knees? Slow it down and walk at a pace that suits you.
Everyone should try to incorporate more walking into their daily routines, regardless of their goals.
Having a tug of war match with your dog can be a fantastic workout for both of you. However, this depends on many variables, such as your dog’s size and age (you don’t want to be swinging your chihuahua around the room by her face). But under the right circumstances, ten minutes of tug of war, and you’ll be ready for an afternoon nap with your dog.
However, this exercise method isn’t ideal for everyone; you’ll need to consider your grip strength and shoulder health and if your dog has any issues with his teeth (it’s not suitable for puppies either).
Always use the same toy to play tug of war with your dog, or you’ll risk your playful pooch pulling on your best pair of slippers or ripping your morning newspaper to shreds unless you set some boundaries.
Running is a classic exercise that can help strengthen both you and your dog’s cardiovascular system and burn plenty of calories too. All you need is some running shoes, your dog and somewhere nice to run.
While not every human loves to run, it’s almost certain that their dog does and would appreciate the chance to stretch its legs and feel the wind flapping around their big floppy ears.
Don’t get downhearted when your dog easily outperforms you on the running track.
5. Rest & Recovery
Rest and recovery are essential parts of exercise; it’s how your body repairs itself from the stresses of working out.
Unfortunately, as we get older, rest becomes an even more critical component of health and fitness (especially if you have mobility issues). The same goes for our dogs. It can become difficult to accomplish everyday tasks that we may have previously taken for granted; climbing the stairs or getting into bed become herculean tasks for humans and our pets.
While there are plenty of thingamabobs and doodads to help humans relax, the options for animals are limited. However, using a dog ramp, like the one from Chasing Tails can give your four-legged a leg up, helping them reach those comfy spots to ensure they get the rest they so desperately need.
Most Importantly …
Consistent exercise is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for you and your dog. And the best way to ensure consistency?
If you choose exercises that are enjoyable for both you and your pet, you increase the chances that you’ll do them on a regular basis and become fitter and healthy over time.
I love hearing from all of you and do my best to respond to each and every one of you. I always enjoy your comments, feedback, and suggestions so keep them coming! If I’ve posted a recipe (for our human and our furry friends) and you try it, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @twoadorablelabs and use #twoadorablelabsInstagram.
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