Summertime is the perfect time to start a new exercise routine. It is recommended that adults take at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, and yet very few people manage to meet this target. A great way to motivate yourself to start exercising daily is to exercise with your dog: Dogs make great work out partners because they love to move, they’re enthusiastic, and they don’t try to distract you by chatting whilst you’re running! But not all dogs are getting the exercise they need either. Estimates suggest that nearly 35% of all pets are overweight, and this can have serious health implications for your dog. The effect of obesity on dogs can include arthritis, diabetes, breathing problems, and heart disease. Definitely an incentive to get both of you up and moving! So how do you get started?
Running with your dog
Unless your dog is elderly or physically challenged, they should be able to run for at least 20 minutes every day. But if it’s been a while since you’ve taken daily exercise then a 20 minute run might be a little more difficult for you straight away. Start slowly: interval training is a great way to build your fitness levels before you both attempt a lengthy run. Walk for one minute, then jog for 20 seconds. Repeat this five times. Then try walking for one minute followed by running backwards for 20 seconds, and repeat this five times. You can keep adding new moves as your confidence grows: galloping, running sideways and even lunges will all increase your cardio output and improve your fitness levels. The change of pace will keep your dog interested and excited too.
Explore other exercise options
Although walking and running seem the obvious options when starting to exercise with your dog, they aren’t the only ones. If you have a dog that loves to be in the water then swimming together is a great exercise option. Although most swimming pools won’t allow you to bring your canine companion, there are plenty of lakes and rivers that make great swimming locations in the warm summer months. Keep an eye on your dog throughout the swim to ensure he isn’t struggling or having trouble while in the water, and that he is always keeping his head above the water. If your dog isn’t comfortable in the water, then this isn’t a good option to try. Instead another fun option for land-loving dogs that are full of energy is to cycle alongside your pet. Take a bike ride at a really slow pace whilst your dog runs beside you getting rid of all his pent up energy. Just be sure to keep an eye on your pup to make sure he isn’t becoming too tired (bear in mind that during a bike ride your dog is working much harder than you) and remember to stop regularly so your dog can take bathroom breaks. It’s not easy to go to the bathroom and run alongside a bike at the same time!
Keeping your dog safe
If you are going to exercise with your dog regularly then it’s important to ensure you have adequate pet insurance for him. Accidents can and do happen: a trip or fall whilst running could result in a broken leg which, without insurance, would result in a very expensive vets bill. Vet visits cost pet owners an average of $505 dollars in 2011 : You could face a financial headache if you don’t have the right insurance in place for your pet. According to money.co.uk, it’s also important to ensure that your pet’s pre-existing conditions are covered as well, to avoid any surprise financial outgoings. There are other relatively inexpensive ways you can keep your dog safe as you exercise too. Although it sounds obvious, don’t forget to carry water for your dog. You should provide an ounce of water for every pound your dog weighs, and look out for signs of exhaustion: you don’t want to push your companion too hard! You can buy reusable sports water bottles from almost every supermarket, and they often come with clever cases, making them easy to carry as you exercise. Finally, think about the time of day you choose to exercise. Morning or early evening are the best times to exercise outside both for people and pets, and you should both avoid being in the sun in the heat of the day.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll soon find that you and your dog are feeling fitter and losing any excess weight in no time. Why not give it a go?