2023 is underway. Is one of your new year’s resolutions to be healthy and get fit? Like majority of people, you’ll probably fall by the wayside after January. While it sometimes feels impossible to stay consistent with your health goals long-term, your dog can actually help you more than you think!
Here are 5 ways your dog can help you get fit this year.
1. Take your dog on a walk
Obviously, dogs need to be walked. By walking your dog, you also reap the rewards of getting some exercise for yourself. To challenge yourself a bit, try picking a route that might help burn some extra calories, such as:
- Uneven surfaces
- Long flat stretches
- Grassy meadows
- Wooded areas
When you walk on different terrains, your dog enjoys the varied exploration. You both also get a good exercise! You can vary your walking speed by mixing brisk walking with slower-paced strides. Of course, you must allow your pup time to smell all the good scents along the way.
It’s recommended that dogs get at least 30 minutes of walk-time in per day, 5 days a week. So, this is your prime opportunity to take advantage and make this a win-win scenario for both. By holding your dog accountable to them getting their daily exercise, you’d have no choice but to get exercise for yourself as well (unless you hire one of our dog walkers to take care of business, of course!).
2. How about a hike?
If your dog enjoys hiking, then you better tie those laces and pack that water bottle! Hiking can be a great calorie-burner for you and your pup, simply because it requires a lot of stamina.
To ensure your pup plays it safe on hiking grounds (sometimes they can be a bit unpredictable!), consider purchasing special pup shoes. Protecting your pup’s paws is just as important as it is for you to protect your own feet!
Some other things you might consider packing for both you and your pup are:
- First-aid kit
- Bug spray
- Phone (with a fully charged battery!)
If you’re hiking in the summer months when the temps are scorching, please make sure to be safe! Hiking is way more strenuous than walking (obviously), so it’ll be especially important to remember the dog walking essentials.
3. Try yoga
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice of moving and breathing to improve balance and restore calm. While it isn’t an activity that you associate with dogs right off the bat (unlike walking and hiking), pup-accompanied yoga has become super common in recent times! Of course, dogs naturally know how to do the “downward-dog,” but there are other poses they can do with you as well. Grab your yoga mat and follow the steps below to get started:
- Lay flat on your back and get your dog to lay down on their stomach.
- Relax and breathe (3 deep breaths). This will get your dog to relax a bit too.
- Start with a warrior pose. Of course, your dog may not be able to do a pose like this, but they will stay near you and watch you with curiosity. They may try to move around your legs. That’s what makes it fun!
If you’re thinking “there’s no way in heck my dog could focus enough to do this“, just be patient. Your dog might think it’s a game at first. When you first get on the ground, they may come up and lick your face! The more you are consistent with it, however, your dog will start to associate yoga sessions with it being time to relax. They are more likely to then obey your need for them to focus.
The purpose of doing yoga with your pup is that it ultimately creates an accountability device. Once you start getting into a consistent schedule with it, your pup will start to get used to the routine. On days when you’re not feeling like doing yoga, your pup will act as your accountability partner. Of course, you’ll then want to oblige, as you won’t want to let down your furry yoga buddy!
If you’ve got a high-energy pup at home, jogging might be the ideal exercise to do! Jogging is the biggest calorie-burner when it comes to cardiovascular exercise. As mentioned in the previous section on yoga, accountability devices are super helpful for starting and maintaining good habits. Getting into a regular jogging routine could mean your pup starts paw-ing at you whenever they’re ready to go out for a run. Needless to say, if you’re not a runner, having a high-energy dog who likes to run can turn you into a runner pretty easily!
If jogging is boring, tiresome, and just not your thing, having your dog doing the activity could help make it fun!
Some dog breeds that enjoy jogging (instead of leisurely walks) include:
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Doberman Pinscher
5. Playing frisbee
Frisbee can be right up there with jogging (as far as a good calorie-burning opportunity is concerned!). If you’ve got a dog who loves to play outdoors, frisbee might be an activity you strongly consider. You might think it’s not the best form of exercise, but throwing a frisbee with your dog (depending on how long and hard you play) can equate to burning almost 500 calories!
When you play frisbee with your dog, you throw the disc, and your dog catches it. You’ll need to teach train them on how to return it to you, or you may need to run over to your dog and have them drop it. If your dog is struggling with listening to such commands, you might even go as far as to consider hiring a professional dog trainer.
Playing frisbee can be a very physical game that includes the following movements:
- Quick twists and turns
Throwing a frisbee is a fun game for you and your dog. Mixing frisbee games with walking or hiking can be fun to give you and your dog a variety of exercises.
Cheers to better health with the help of your dog!
There are a plethora of other activities you can pursue with your pup if the ones listed above aren’t intriguing to you. As long as pick something that involves some physical exertion, you’re golden!
Many people struggle to stick to their goals because they “just don’t have time.” Truthfully, you make the time for the things that matter to you. If getting in shape in 2023 is a serious goal you have, you can easily take advantage of the fact that your dog also has regular exercise needs. By choosing and sticking to the various activities above (and doing them with your dog!), you’ll be well on your way to achieving your personally health goals quickly.
Of course, it’s understandable that you can’t always be there to exercise with your pup, however. On days when life is busy, yet you still desire for your pup to maintain their new-found exercise routine, our dog walkers in Columbus, Ohio are happy to help!