Exercising With Your Dog: Here Are Some Ideas
As important as it is, exercising can become boring, tedious, or just a struggle, especially in winter or early mornings!
If you’re at the point where you’re no longer motivated, why not get your pup in on it to give you a bit of inspiration and make it fun again?
#1 – Take a Hike / Trail Run
Nothing bolsters health like some time in the fresh air taking in beautiful surroundings (1). If you love the great outdoors, take your pup on a hike or a trail run.
Not only are both great exercises, but they’re also easier on your pup’s paws than urban jogging, being on natural terrain.
Make sure the spots you plan to go are dog-friendly, though, and keep your pup on their leash at all times.
A small picnic lunch (not forgetting some healthy dog food) with a great view is the soul-exercise that goes along with the physical exercise!
#2 – Play Some Soccer
Generally, dogs love to play with a ball. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny one, a medium one, or a big one – they’ll chase it!
Soccer may not be your first thought when it comes to fitness, but it’s a more active alternative to the traditional game of fetch.
Recreational soccer has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and physical fitness (2). You don’t need any more people than just you and your pup to have a good, hard game, but the beauty of this exercise is that you can add more people if others wish to join in.
#3 – Swimming
Swimming is a super low-impact activity that has a variety of impressive health benefits for both dogs and humans, including strengthening the cardiovascular system, reducing body fat, and building muscle (3). Even for your pup!
This type of exercise is ideal if you live somewhere hot. Be careful about choosing this kind of exercise for your dog, though!
Some breeds have a natural affinity to the water, and just like humans, some pups just love being in it. Others, though, are terrified of the pool, even if they happen to be a water-loving breed.
Make sure your dog is happy with the water before trying to incorporate this kind of exercise into their routine!
#4 – Frisbee
Frisbee is another thing that dogs seem to love. While it’s not a super intense form of exercise for the humans involved, it’s a good first step for someone who is trying to incorporate exercise into a sedentary lifestyle.
If you’re already active and want to include a good game of frisbee in your training, take a frisbee along if you’re running and create a game of “running fetch”.
#5 – Bodyweight Training
There’s no need to join a gym to get fit and strong. Bodyweight training has been proven to be as effective as using free weights for building strength (4).
There are two big advantages to doing bodyweight training. One, you can do it anywhere, at any time. Two, you can get your dog involved! Try:
- Picking your dog up and squatting with them.
- Doing lunges while holding your pup.
- Having your dog sit on your back while doing pushups.
- Bicep curling your pup!
Technically, you’ll be pushing your own body weight and your dog’s, but it’s a fun way to involve your best bud in your training! Obviously, some of these ideas work better with smaller breeds and others work well with bigger pups.
Just make sure your form remains correct, and you’re both in for a fun workout routine!
Don’t let your exercise fall by the wayside if you’re a little short on motivation! Your dog could be your biggest cheerleader, and will happily take part in any bit of exercise you involve them in!
Give some of the human/dog exercise options a tryout. Who knows, you might find yourself with a whole new exercise schedule!