5 Fun Ways To Work Out With Your Dog
Yes, it’s gross outside. But as the hot summer months come to an end, we can look forward to the cool fall breeze that will make exercising outside a lot more enjoyable (and a lot less sweaty). Since both you and your dog need regular exercise to stay healthy, why not include your pup the next time you train outdoors? Working out with your furry BFF will keep you motivated and allow you both to spend more quality time together. Here are five ways you and your doggo can exercise together.
1. Go for a jog.
The easiest way to work out with your dog? Grab the leash and hit the ground running. Going for a jog instead of a walk along you and your pup’s favorite scenic route is a good way for both of you to get some exercise — and a great way for your pup to get rid of any pent-up energy. Beware, though, that not all pups are Olympic-grade runners. If you have a short, stocky (but still super adorable) dog like a French Bulldog or a Dachshund, you’ll most likely have to adjust your running speed on account of your pup’s short legs.
On the other hand, if you have a super high-energy dog like a Siberian Husky or a Golden Retriever, you might have to train yourself to run faster to keep up with your pup. But just like it’d be dangerous for a person who’s been sedentary all of their life to scoot their butt off the couch and go for a sudden 5-mile run, it’s best to start slow if your pup’s never exercised a day in his life (with the exception of brief walks). Experts recommend that you start your pup off with a 10-minute run and add an extra 10 minutes from there every week until you reach your desired running time or distance.
2. Hike the hills.
With so many beautiful hiking trails around the country, you and your pup are missing out on some serious eye candy if you don’t take advantage and hit the trails for your next workout. Hiking lowers your risk of heart disease, boosts your mood and even strengthens your core.
If you do decide to take your dog along on your next hike, make sure that you pack all of the pup essentials. You’ll need a portable water bottle, along with plenty of water for both you and your dog, plenty of snacks (both human and dog-friendly) and dog food for the longer hikes. Remember that your dog can also burn from excess sun exposure, so you need to make sure that you bring along dog-friendly sunscreen. Before you grab your backpack and hit the road, also keep in mind that not all hiking trails are dog-friendly. But there’re plenty of pup-friendly hiking trails around the country with gorgeous views.
3. Practice your sprints.
Sprinting — either outdoors or on the treadmill — does wonders for your fitness. It speeds up your metabolism and builds muscle, all in a relatively short period of time. The only downside of sprints is… well, they make us want to cry. But your pup’s cuteness can make sprinting by his side a lot more bearable and, dare we say, enjoyable.
If you have a pup that sticks by your side no matter what, take advantage of off-the-leash dog park hours that are typically held in the early morning or late at night. Remember that both you and your doggo need to warm up for five to seven minutes before beginning your sprint sesh. Try warming up with a light jog around the park, which has the added bonus of letting you scope out the area for any harmful pup hazards.
4. Go for a swim.
Doing laps in any body of water — be it a pool, a lake or the ocean — is a great way to work out. Swimming allows you to get your heart rate up without putting too much stress on your joints. These health benefits are also applicable to man’s furry best friend. So if your pup loves to swim, which is likely the case if you have a Labrador Retriever, a Golden Retriever or one of the many other water-loving breeds, you should consider hitting that H2O together.
Some things to keep in mind before you go swimming with your pup: Stay safe by bringing along a dog life jacket (especially if you’re planning on swimming in rougher waters) and remember that not all dogs are expert swimmers. Oh, and if your pup doesn’t express an interest in the activity, you should never force him into the water.
5. Play fetch — where you both chase the ball.
Here’s a new game for ya: Instead of making your dog do all the work by fetching whatever you throw and bringing it promptly back to you, once you throw that toy or object, race your dog to catch it. This way, you’ll also be getting in a good workout. This version of fetch will prove to be a lot more entertaining for both of you, too. Chances are that if you participate in the fetching activity, your dog will also get a better workout by running faster towards that ball — because there’s no way you’re going to beat him to it!