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fitness with dod

Your Pup can Up the Ante on your Fitness Regimen; Here’s How

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Finding a workout buddy to help keep you motivated when starting a new workout regime isn’t always easy.

For many people, finding someone with similar fitness goals, who isn’t flaky and is always happy to join you might seem impossible.

Cue the barking and wagging of tail! Your dog may be the ideal workout partner that never complains, keeps up with your pace and is ready to exercise at the wiggle of a leash any time of the day.

Here are some benefits of exercising with your dog and some essential gear to start your new workout routine.

Why Exercise With Your Dog?

Exercise is a preventive, miracle cure whose positive health benefits are extremely hard to ignore.

Besides controlling your weight, exercise prevents numerous diseases and maladies, including high-blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, Type II diabetes and much more, the Mayo Clinic states. For your mental and emotional health, exercise is great at improving your mood, boosting energy and promoting better sleep habits. Throw your dog into the mix and you’re talking added health benefits for you both.

Similar to how exercise keeps you healthy and agile, your dog reaps similar benefits, including weight control, a healthy digestive system and reduced risk of heart disease. Exercise is also great for correcting behavior issues, such as attention-seeking, unruliness, hyperactivity and destructiveness. Exercising together strengthens your bond and promotes a strong, trusting relationship, instilling your pet with confidence and comfort as they interact with other humans and canines.

Exercises for Man and Dog Alike

When looking to start a new workout routine with your dog, find forms of exercise that work for you both. Start by talking to your doctor and veterinarian to find out how much exercise you and your dog need, as well as any recommendations or restrictions they may have. If you’re looking to ease yourself into a workout routine, activities such as biking or heading to the dog park are great options. Biking a few miles a day (or less) is easy on your body and keeps your dog active running alongside your bicycle. At the dog park, enjoy a nice stroll at your leisure, while you play fetch with your dog and work them out to their limits.

For fur parents looking to push themselves a little harder, hiking and rollerblading are fun exercise options to get you and Fido moving. Explore new hiking trails that satisfy both your desires for exercise and nature, and work your way up to more difficult terrain and increased mileage as you see fit. Similar to biking, rollerblading keeps your dog running, while you get to cruise along. Rollerblading is a total-body, cardio exercise that uses your abductors, adductors, quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.

For water-loving dog owners, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking are great forms of exercise, especially if your dog enjoys swimming. Hop onto your paddle or kayak and enjoy exercising along the water, while your dog occasionally hops in and swims alongside you, exerting a lot of energy while getting an excellent workout.

What Gear Do I Need?

Starting a serious workout regimen with your dog that goes beyond walking requires more gear than your average leash. Start with protecting yourself from the elements as you spend more time outdoors. Wear sunscreen, invest in a great pair of sunglasses that fit your activity needs, find rain gear to keep you dry, and wear an excellent pair of shoes tailored to your workout regime.

Now for protecting your pup: Keeping their paws healthy is extremely important. In the summer, keep your dog off hot pavement as much as possible, moisturize their paws, use paw wax and even try dog shoes. In the winter, use dog boots if necessary and keep your dog away from salted roads as it could be toxic.

When biking or rollerblading with your dog, use a tow leash that keeps your dog close and keeps your hands free from the elements. For water activities, a life jacket for both you and your dog will keep you safe and give you peace of mind when your dog hops in a stream or lake.