Is inactivity plaguing you and your canine pal? Don't despair. This guest post, "7 Ways to Exercise With Your Dog" written by Joe Fleming will give you some fun ways to get off the couch and get active.
Missing exercise yourself is detrimental to your health in many ways such as the risk of weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few.
Your dog requires exercise to help expend energy, keep their heart and muscles healthy, as well as to receive brain-boosting cognitive stimulation.
If 30 minutes or more of exercise can’t seem to find its way into your daily routine, these ideas may help:
Don't just pop out to the backyard for a quick bathroom trip, go on a full-fledged walk, even multiple times a day. Set a goal to round the block a few times, or even go all the way down the big hill you’ve been avoiding and come back up.
Depending on your furry friend’s age, weight (at least 25 lbs. Is recommended), agility, and physical capabilities, bicycling may be just the ticket to exercise fun. Worried about the risks to you or your dog? Err on the side of caution, familiarize your dog with the bike while on a leash, perhaps walking the bike with your dog first, and use treats and positive praise.
Enjoy the great outdoors with your dog on a gentle to moderate hike! Hiking offers an aerobic workout as well as helps stretch and strengthen muscles, not to mention soaking in healthy Vitamin D from the sunshine. If your dog is trained to follow you off leash, hiking is even easier and allows them to explore his surroundings fully.
Find a dog park near you and set aside an hour one weekend to go and check it out. Dog parks typically have walking trails and fenced in areas for dogs to socialize and play with each other.
Still another way to get some exercise is to develop a workout yourself throwing a Frisbee or other item for your dog to fetch, running to a new spot each time or doing jumping jacks or lunges while your dog fetches and returns the thrown item.
Get your weightlifting and cardio in by setting up an obstacle course for your pup and then spend time helping them run through it. Use old hula hoops, logs, chairs, and other similar items to create obstacles for crawling through and jumping over.
Use treats to encourage your dog to join you on an adjacent treadmill, starting first at the lowest setting and increasing gradually with firm praise and treats to help them maintain their focus.
Are you concerned about your dog’s ability to be active? Or are you experiencing your injury or hesitation with ramping up the activity levels? Don’t miss these tips:
Talk to your vet - commit to dialogue with your vet to discuss your dog’s exercise limits and what type of activity is in their best interest.
Avoid foot pain - if foot or knee pain from arthritis, arch issues, or other injury is preventing you from staying active with your pup, talk to your doctor about orthotic inserts or compression arch support to help relieve pain and keep you moving.
Ask a friend to join you - exercising and staying active is more fun when you do it with someone else! Ask a friend who also has a dog that gets along well with yours to join you for a jaunt to the dog park or a walk around the block - the extra encouragement is always welcome.
The companionship and security that comes with owning a dog are priceless. The motivation to get up and stay active together can have a lasting impact on your physical and mental health. Set a goal to try a new, creative activity with your dog this month and who knows, you might find a new hobby you both love that brings you closer together as well.