If you’re an avid exerciser, or even just getting started, you know that working out with a friend is a great motivator. Friends help keep you accountable, challenge you to give your best effort, and make the activity more enjoyable. If you’re also a pet parent, your dog can fill that role perfectly, and be an ideal fitness buddy.
Keeping You Accountable
Some days it can be hard to motivate yourself to hit the gym. But when your tail-wagging pooch is doing the potty dance by the door, you have to oblige. Even if you have an enclosed yard where you can safely let your dog out to run, why not make the most of your pet’s natural needs and make a daily walking appointment?
Medium-sized and larger breeds can match your energy and even push you to the next level. Your Golden Retriever can be not only a great walking buddy, but even a running partner. And that retired Greyhound? Well, what better way to improve your form than to learn from a pro!
Making It Fun
Many avid exercisers claim that the best part of a workout is when it’s over. But the workouts that keep you coming back are the ones that are fun when you’re doing them. So playing with your dog and sharing aerobic activity can be a workout date that you’ll look forward to again and again!
All dogs need appropriate exercise, but don’t plan a 5-mile run with a tiny Yorkshire Terrier. Also, don’t expect all your Great Dane’s energy to be expended on a stroll around the block. Smaller dogs can motivate your workout but may need shorter excursions or to be excused after a lap or two. And larger dogs may need more run time than what you can join them in. If you’re planning to adopt a pet, consider a breed that will match your activity level. But if you are already a pet parent, be mindful of your dog’s size and what activity level is appropriate for them.
Activity levels should match the age of your pet. Puppies need lots of rest but also have lots of energy to expend. As they grow and become adolescents (around a year), they have a ton more energy to burn and need increased activity. Senior dogs still need activity to stay limber and fit, but may need less impact and shorter distances.
Beyond age considerations, the health of your pet is a critical consideration in the energy you can expect (and demand). Are there joint issues? A heart condition? Diabetes? All of these diagnoses could both be improved or worsened by activity, so consult your vet for recommendations that make activity great for both you and your dog.
Logging the Miles
So get ready to pound the pavement with your new favorite fitness buddy! Your dog, and your waistline, will benefit—and what’s better than sharing your fitness activities with your furry friend?