There is no better way to ensure you get a good workout than taking your dog along with you. In fact, research shows that dog owners are more likely to exercise regularly and to be more fit than their peers who do not own a dog. A study from Michigan State University reports that dog owners are 34 percent more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week than those without dogs. So, if you're looking for a way to get motivated you may want to head out and look for a new furry best friend and check out these top ways to ensure you get the best workout with your new companion.
1. Go off Trail
Walking your dog doesn't mean you have to just casually stroll around the block. Dogs love adventure so take them out hiking or let them tag along with you for a bike ride. You can even try in-line skating or swimming. There are also dog-friendly boot-camps you can try, which include cardio circuits such as sprinting, pushups and lunges.
2. Reverse Roles
Instead of walking your dog, try having your dog walk you. Chances are your new best friend will take you on a much tougher run or walk than you would do yourself. You will get to enjoy the great outdoors while not only working on your cardio but on your muscle strength as well.
A great workout for you and your dog could enjoy taking part in a flyball exercise. This sport sees dogs work as part of teams, such as a human relay race. Dogs race down a course, which includes four hurdles. At the end of the first leg there are a box of tennis balls that the dog must jump on to release a ball before returning to the starting line. Once the dog crosses the starting line, the next dog will have a turn. You could run along side your dog and the others for a good, quick workout.
No dog has ever said no to fetch. So get out a ball or a stick and run around a park with your canine. When your dog goes to fetch the item you can bust out some muscle-building moves like crunches, lunges or squats. Or try racing him to the ball for some good sprinting exercises. Not only will you get in a good cardio workout, you and your dog will have fun bonding. Chances are you won't even look at it as exercise.
This is a cross between yoga and dog – or, in other words, yoga with your dog. This can be a calming exercise for both you and your dog because it's all about the pet-human bond. If you can't find a class in your area you can simply go online and watch some videos.
6. Obstacle Course
Make an obstacle course with hurdles, tunnels and ropes for your dog. Try to keep up as your happy canine runs, jumps and crawls through the course. It's a great way to work out a lot of different muscles, including your dog's brain.
7. Cross Country Skiing
It doesn't have to be summer time to get outside and work out with your pup. Cross country skiing is a great sport to do with your dog. You dog will love being outside and will make sure you keep a good pace and don't stop for too many breaks.
8. Dog Games
Dogs love to play games so try turning these games into your daily workout. Try playing tug-of-war, freestyle dance or soccer with your companion to ensure a good workout for both of you. Herding breeds such as Border Collies and Australian Shepherds love playing soccer. You can play keep-away with the ball or try punting the ball and racing for it. It doesn't take much work but your body will sure feel it.
Dogs are a creature of habit so they will make sure you keep up your weekly mileage. And once your dog gets into the routine of a morning run, he or she won't let you skip out on it. You won't even need an alarm clock because your dog will likely be waiting by your bed to wake you up. If you aren't feel motivated one look at the excitement in your pet's face will force you to get out from under those cozy blankets. You can also try stair-running exercises, which will work out your quads, hamstrings and glutes.
10. Paddle boarding
Dogs of all sizes can ride on the nose of a paddle board, enjoying the view while you get a killer ab workout. If you find it hard to balance the board, try paddling on your knees. Make sure you put a life preserver on you and your dog because chances are you will likely take a few dips!
If your dog is big, walking him or her may seem like more of a job than an exercise routine. If you feel like your pup is about to pull your arm off you won't really enjoy your walk. So try letting him or her keep up with you as you pedal your bike. Cycling can get rid of 500 or more calories per hour and will help build your leg muscles. Biking with your dog may also help with any behavioural issues he or she may have since aerobic exercises are believed to stimulate the dog's brain to make serotonin, a hormone that helps dogs relax.
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