You probably already know a lot about your dog. You know that she’s loyal and cheerful and that she really enjoys the sound of your key turning in the lock at the end of a long, hard day. And you, you know that you care enough about her to buy her the best dog food, trainer and dog insurance.But did you know that, while keeping your dog healthy, you can keep yourself healthy too?
That’s right. It’s easy to say you don’t have enough time to work out, but it’s harder to say life is too hectic to let your dog out for a bathroom break. Next time, when you feel that cold nose slide over your face at 6AM, take it a step further by slipping on those running shoes, hooking your dog up to a leash and heading out into the neighborhood. That morning air will wake you right up, especially if you power walk or jog rather than strolling groggily from block to block and grumbling about your need for coffee.
If you’re not used to exercising with your dog, start slowly; go around the block the first day, then around two, then further and further until you’re going for a decent distance. You can also try switching up speeds, or going beyond the traditional walking/running model to hiking, biking, or even swimming. Your dog will love the new adventures, and your heart will, too.
If your dog is both athletic and smart (we’re looking at you, border collie owners), you might even experiment with agility training, which challenges both a dog’s body and brain as she navigates through agility courts. And of course, you’ll be jogging alongside them, reaping the same benefits.
Alternatively, experiment with new and interesting games, like tossing a Frisbee, kicking a soccer ball or playing a chasing game across your yard. Dogs love unadulterated play, and you’ll feel like a kid again laughing and running hard with your best bud by your side. This is an especially good strategy for people who prefer exercise classes that focus on the fun rather than that bland, elliptical workout.
Working out with your dog on the weekends can also be a great way to discover new places and mix things up. Look up a good local hike and set out on the trail. Your dog will thrill at the opportunity to climb (and sniff) new terrain.
There are indirect benefits, too. Getting in shape with your dog means cutting down on both your health insurance and pet insurance costs. The happier and fitter you both are, the less time you’ll spend in the doctor or vet’s office.
We’re sorry to say it, Jane Fonda, but there’s just no better workout partner than a dog. After all, who else believes in you with such undying enthusiasm and positivity? Working out with your dog is the ultimate health solution for the busy, multi-tasking adult. So get your dog her first hot pink lycra leotard, grab that leash and hit those sidewalks!