Dogs can really enhance your fitness routine, and help to keep you fit and healthy. Some days, when you don’t want to go out for a long walk or jog, your dog looks up at you and pesters you until you leave the house. Having a dog gives you a reason to get out and about and exercise.
Dogs have to be walked every single day, some several times a day, so that’s obviously going to boost your fitness regime. However, there’s far more you can do with your dog than simply walk or run with them. If you have just taken on a new dog and want to do lots of exercise with them, or you have high energy dogs, then here’s some ways you can wear both you and your pooch out.
Review your fitness levels
Before you jump in the deep end and begin your new fitness routine, take some time to think about your fitness levels and plan workouts accordingly. If your dog isn’t used to doing a lot of high intensity exercise, you should start by doing a little and building up. Consider your dog’s age, athletic ability and health before embarking on a fitness journey with them. The last thing you want to do is overdo it or cause injuries or health problems. Think about what sort of activities would suit you both, and gradually build up the amount of exercise you are doing.
Get into a routine
If you want to get fit with fido, you need to get into a routine. Decide what activities to do each week and you will start to get used to your new fitness regime. For example, you might decide to do one long run with your dog a week, as well as taking them to an activity like agility on top of all your usual walks. Plan in when you will be able to do exercise with your dog so that you can fit it around work. If you have set days where you plan to exercise with your best friend, you will be more likely to keep your workouts up.
Try different activities with your dog
As mentioned earlier, there’s so much more you can do with your dog than just go walking or running. There are more and more fun activities to try with your dog these days. Here’s a selection of physical activities you can do with your dog:
- Agility – agility is a great way to get fit with your dog as you have to run round an obstacle course with them.
- Flyball – more for your dog, but you can go out and do some active fetch with your dog to help them get used to retrieving balls.
- Cani X – Cani X is basically cross country with your dog, you can take part in a series of races across the UK.
- Doga (yoga with your dog) – yes, you can actually do yoga with your dog.
- Hydrotherapy – this is mainly just for your dog, but you could go swimming afterwards too!
- Dog friendly boot camp classes – some outdoor fitness bootcamp classes allow participants to bring their dogs. Your dog can run around and exercise whilst you do your fitness class.
Other ways to exercise with your dog
- Swimming in the sea together
- Working out with your dog
- Paddle boarding
- Cross country skiing
- Hiking and trekking
Set goals for both you and your pooch
Just like you would if you were planning your own fitness goals, it’s worth doing some for your pooch. This will help to keep you motivated to get fit yourself, and also keep your dog on track.
Decide on short and long term goals for you and your dog such as doing three hours of exercise together a week to begin with, and perhaps increasing that amount as the months go on. If your dog needs to lose a few pounds, you could get them weighed at the vets, and ask your vet what would be an ideal target weight.
Review your nutrition
It’s also worth reviewing both you and your dog’s diets. If your dog is going to be doing lots of exercise with you, they need high quality food filled with lots of protein to help give them enough energy.
We sell dog food that’s specifically made for high energy dogs and pooches that do a fair amount of exercise. It’s definitely worth investing in a high quality diet for your dog to help them stay at their best. If your dog is overweight, you might want to review their diet including how many treats they get and what sort of food you are feeding them.
Remember not to feed your dog before you go out and exercise, feed them at least an hour beforehand.
Enter an event to keep you focused
Entering an event with your dog can give you a goal and help you to stay focused. It’s also a wonderful experience achieving something with your dog. For example, you could enter a Cani X (cross country with your dog) race, or aim to compete in an agility show.
Stock up on fitness equipment
There’s lots of equipment available that can help you get the most out of doing exercise with your dog. For example, if you intend to do agility with your dog, then you can get some agility equipment to use in your garden, or if you are doing Cani X, you will need to get a special harness that enables you to run comfortably with your dog.
What are you waiting for?It’s time to come up with your new fitness plan and get active with your best friend. Getting fit together will make you both healthier and strengthen your bond. Get started now and you just might be surprised by what you can achieve by getting fit with your dog.