The Benefits of Working Out With Your Dog
A dog is man's best friend, so why not get into shape alongside your best friend. You'll both see physical and mental benefits as both of your health improves. You can work out together through exercises like walking, running, hiking, or even swimming. Find out why working out with your dog is a wonderful idea for both of you.
Why Working Out With Your Dog is a Good Idea
Dogs are pack animals, so they get more enjoyment out of being at your side instead of just running in the yard alone or chasing a ball. Just like a person, when a dog gets out of shape, getting them back to a moderate level of fitness can be quite the challenge. While dogs show their fitness more in terms of speed and endurance, you can see physical improvements in yourself such as weight loss, muscle gains, and improved endurance.
The Mental Benefits Dogs Provide
Outside of the physical benefits of working out with your dog, there are quite a few ways in which you can see your mental state improve. It is easy for your mood to improve, stress to melt away, and have some plain old fun when you see your dog companion look up at you with a smile on its face.
It can be hard for some people to muster up the motivation to do a workout when they only have to rely on themselves. But knowing you have the responsibility to meet a workout partner only improves the odds. In this case, your workout partner is your dog, and there is no way you can let your dog down. Even if the workout is just their morning bathroom walk, you still need the motivation to do it.
Unless you have had a pet before, you may not be aware that dogs provide excellent stress relief. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, just petting your dog lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When you interact with your dog, it also raises levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Enjoying the company of your dog will have you on the path to feeling better mentally.
When was the last time you had a good bit of fun? Working out with your dog will definitely put a smile on your face when you watch them have fun and interact with their environment. It is lots of fun to play games with your dog like fetch with a stick, tug of war, or even taking them through an agility course.
If you are lonely, then a dog can be the perfect companion for you. Having a pet that you need to care for can give you a self-esteem boost. It can also help you meet new people by having something in common with other pet owners. These are also the reasons why dogs make excellent support animals—they just know when something is wrong and can make you feel better.
What Workouts Can You Do With Your Dog?
There are many different kinds of workouts you can do with your dog, but the basics include walking, running, hiking, and swimming. You probably can't strength train with your dog, but you may be able put them on your back and squat them!
Walking your dog is probably the easiest way for both of you to work out together. Whether it is just some short trips outside for their bathroom walks or a long stroll around the neighborhood, try to walk them as much as you can. Walking is perfect if you are just getting back into exercise and aren't ready to start running your miles.
Since the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to high-level aerobic activity, running is the perfect way to hit this goal. It may take some training to get your dog to run beside you on a leash without constantly pulling, but once you do, they will be the perfect running companion. As long as your dog is in shape, it should be able to keep up with you for a few miles, but don't push them to go more than 10 miles or so without a lot of training.
What better way to enjoy the reward of finishing a long hike to a mountain lake than sitting on the shore with your dog next to you. Not only is hiking a peaceful activity, but your dog will love being able to take in all of the sights and sounds of nature. If your dog is a smaller breed and gets tired after hiking a few miles, be sure to bring a doggy backpack you can give them a ride in. Not only will they enjoy the break, but it will make the workout a little tougher for you.
Although not all dog breeds may like swimming, if you have one that does, treat it to a nice swim at a local lake or river. Swimming is a great aerobic endurance-building exercise, so once you are able to swim longer distances, make sure your dog is capable as well. If needed, you can buy them a doggy life vest to help keep them afloat. It is important for you to keep your dog leashed while swimming if there are any currents so it doesn't get swept away. You should always research the local laws regarding swimming with your dog since some parks or beaches may not allow it.
Get in Shape With Your Dog
You and your dog will see both physical and mental benefits the more you work out together. Not only will your mood and well-being improve, but you'll have more strength and endurance. If you need any workout gear, supplements, or even training plans to boost your performance, we can help. Just visit us at TigerFitness.com and we can help take you and your dog's workout to the next level.