If you’ve been lacking the motivation to get in shape and you feel like you need a partner to get your activity levels on track, stop waiting around for your buddy to put down the cheeseburger or your girlfriend to give up her glass of wine. You may already have the perfect fitness companion living with you if you are the proud pet owner of a canine. Dogs are known to be man’s best friend, and your puppy pal can be a useful tool in getting your health on track. Here are some activities you can do with your pet to help keep you healthy.
Take a Walking Tour
If both you and your dog have a lot of bundled up energy, taking a walking tour of your city is a neat way to spend time together while getting in plenty of exercise. Embrace a spirit of adventure and hit up all the pet-friendly parks or walking trails. Your local animal groups may also have some suggestions on what locations are dog-friendly around town.
Hit the Beach
Some dogs are better suited for swimming and beach exploration, so if you live near a lake or the beach, consider taking your dog for a day trip to the water. Not all dogs can swim, so if you are headed to the beach to get in your own run, be sure to have a doggy life vest on your canine. Just like children, never leave your dog unattended around water.
Bike Around the Block
There are some dogs with long legs and quick strides that can keep pace with your biking speed. It does take some practice between partner and pup to safety master a biking expedition, so practice riding around the block while holding the leash before making any serious biking trips. If you have a small dog that isn’t able to keep pace, consider a bike-mounted basket or a pull-behind cart to give your dog a ride in style. You might be burning the calories but you will still be in it together.
Run the Local Track
Rather than a standard walk around the block, take your dog to a local track or field and go for a long-distance run. Your pup’s health will be a factor in how long the excursion should last, but a solid run or jog is a great way to wear down an energetic puppy. Set yourself some time goals and work toward beating them each time you go.
Make New Friends
Whenever you are trying something new, it helps to have some company. For dogs, a visit to an off-leash dog park can help improve your dog’s social skills while increasing activity levels. Though a visit to a dog park may have you sitting calming on the bench, it’s okay to take a break from the activity at times. There are some weight loss plans, such as the HCG diet, that don’t recommend consistent strenuous activity. So skipping a run and hanging out with furry friends at the park is a great idea for a resting day.
Create a Backyard Maze
Most dogs with lots of energy need to diversions and puzzles to solve in order to maintain a sense of calm. There are tons of things that you can use around the house to develop a special maze or puzzle for your dog in the backyard. You may need to lead them through course a time or two, but leaving things like tug-toys or tennis balls in a tunnel can help encourage your dog to stay busy on its own. You will get in some extra sunshine and fresh air when you hang around outside coaxing your pup through the hollow tube or weaving around the cones.
Take an Obedience Class
There are many dogs that love structure and discipline, but as an owner, a well-disciplined dog reduces a lot of stress and chaos associated with outings or trips to the vet. By enrolling in a doggy training class or obedience program, you can improve the bond between you and your pet and develop a strong response habit in your dog. Though you will get in plenty of activity during your time in class, you improve your emotional and mental health when reducing stress or anxiety and creating feel-good emotions between yourself and your pup.
Go on a Shopping Trip
Pet stores aren’t the only places you can take your furry friend. When it’s raining outside and difficult to get in your exercise, head to a pet-friendly store for a few laps. You can start with a trip to the pet store, letting your furry family member pick out a toy or a treat. You can then head to Tractor Supply, Home Depot or Lowes (many of which allow leashed dogs) to pick up some supplies for a house project or activity that will keep you busy.
Pets are more than just lovable family additions. Dogs can be good workout buddies and health motivators.
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