According to Health Magazine our furbabies make THE BEST work out buddies because they don’t bail on you and can always make it up that last hill! I pulled some of their statistics to share as we make the “New Year, New You” journey to better health.
That energy can be contagious: research from Michigan State University found that dog owners were 34% more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week than folks who didn’t have a dog. Even if you’re just taking your pup for a walk, that counts. (Move at a brisk clip and you can burn as many as 170 calories in half an hour.) But there are lots of other activities you and Fido can do together—all while strengthening your bond!
Running (or walking) is great because dogs are creatures of habit, they can help you keep up your weekly mileage: Once your pup gets into the routine of a morning run, they won’t let you wimp out if it’s drizzling, or you’re just feeling bleh, explains J.T. Clough, author of 5K Training Guide: Running with Dogs ($8, amazon.com). I know this to be true – I own 417 Pet Sitting and our clients are always ready to go – tail wagging, staring at the door and/or their leash! Don’t worry about the little ones, Carlos the dachshund has just as much energy as Jacoby the golden. Clough says “The truth is most small dogs have more energy than the big breeds. Just be careful in the heat and humidity, since dogs don’t sweat like we do. And if you have a flat-faced breed (think pugs and Boston terriers), keep your runs under five miles, since these dogs have a harder time taking in air.”
Maybe running (or walking) isn’t your thing, try climbing stairs or the stadium. This adds a different cardio element while working your glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
If you have (or are considering) a herding breed, think Australian Shepherd or Border Collie, try soccer! Planet Dog, and other brands, have soccer balls that are made for play with your pets so they are resistant to teeth punctures. You can work on tricks with your own feet, and your furry friends nose or paws. You can have a great game of soccer with your furry friend in your own back yard or open space that gets both of your heart rates up and out in the fresh air.
Not a soccer fan? Try engaging him with other toys (like rope tugs) and activities (such as hide-and-seek). “Put yourself into kid mood, come up with a game, and show him,” Clough suggests. “He’ll most likely play it with you.”
Paddle boarding and kayaking are also great pup and me activities! No matter the size of your pup, they fit on the nose of the board or can squeeze in a kayak or canoe with you, try it on dry land to get the logistics worked out first. Make sure you have bottled water, an extra towel, and a life vest for your pet. (Petsway sells some super cute ones in all colors and sizes, plus they have a handle on the back to help pull your pup back on your board or in the kayak after a great swim or game of fetch.)
You can also combine yoga and fetch – there are lots of “doga” poses and classes offered, as well as doggy and me fitness classes in the area. That being said, there is no reason you have to find a class because you don’t have to just stand still during a game of fetch – your pup is getting exercise going after the ball and you’re burning calories waiting for the ball to be returned. For extra distance, I use the Chuck It. I like doing squats while waiting, but you could do crunches, burpees, jumping jacks, yoga, stretches, or lunges.
At 417 Pet Sitting and 92.9 The Beat we want the best for you and your furbaby for 2017 and beyond! We hope that these tips help and the links have LOTS more information to help you reach your goals. Remember – a bad day, doesn’t mean you have failed at reaching your goal, it means you had a bad day, so don’t give up. Keep running, walking, and loving that furbaby. **shakes pom-poms** You got this!