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5 Ways Your Dog Can Help You Get in Shape
Getting in shape is one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions that people make. Your dog can not only encourage you to keep your resolution, but they can help you get fit! Every dog like every person is different, so you will want to find the right exercise for you and your dog. Make sure your dog is checked out by a vet and deemed healthy for any of these exercises before you give them a try.
Walking may seem obvious, but a lot of dogs and humans simply don’t get enough exercise, and taking more walks can be immensely helpful for humans and dogs alike. Walking can prevent or manage conditions like heart disease or high blood pressure, and it burns calories, boosts energy and mood. Sources vary on how much exercise we and our pups need, but start with walking your dog 20 to 30 minutes a day, depending on age and breed, and see where you can go from there! You’ll get to see more of the neighborhood and maybe make some new human or animal friends.
When I first sat down to write this article, the first thing I thought of was how great it would be to get a more vigorous exercise with my dog. Obviously, this is not for every breed or age, but if your dog is healthy and has the proper gear (like a good lead and harness so you don’t pull on their neck) you can definitely give it a try. Just remember to do a 5 minute warm up and cool down, just like you would with any other aerobic exercise.
Hiking is another lovely activity that can not only help with burning calories and shedding pounds but can build a lot of muscle as well while enjoying different scenery than normal. There will be sights and sounds beyond the scope of your usual routine for you two to enjoy, and a plethora of smells for your best friend. A warmup and cool down are a good idea here as well, especially if you’ll be taking a much longer route than usual.
Have you ever thought about dancing with your dog? The first time I got a dog he was around two years old, and when I started dancing around the house, he got extremely excited and ran around chasing me and jumping around, and we both had a blast. People have taken this even more seriously and coordinated dance routines with their pups that involve things like having their dogs weave in and out of their legs. YouTube is a great resource if you’re interested in this type of exercise or something of the sort.
Agility training is not for the faint of heart but can be a fun exercise. This involves your dog doing various obstacle course type tasks, like leaping hurdles and weaving around cones, with you running alongside them, giving them encouragement, love and instructions. Check out local dog trainers to see what kind of agility training you can find.
Exercising with your dog is really a win-win situation. You get healthier, your dog gets healthier, and maybe even your neighbors or some strangers can get an extra smile or laugh. I do want to emphasize how important it is to warm up and cool down, take it easy at first, and get the go-ahead from your veterinarian before doing any of these exercises with your best friend. Best of luck!