Not only will you burn some serious calories, you get to help keep your pup healthy and have fun with them too!
Whether you are an experienced runner, swimmer or athlete or an absolute beginner, these fun workouts will inspire, challenge and motivate you and your puppy! A study by the University of Missouri found that those who walk with their dogs were 20 percent more likely to increase their pace than if they walked with another person. So grab your furry pet, a leash and your tennis ball, and get moving!
Before you begin any workout routine with your pet, make sure you have the right equipment, like harnesses, leashes and other accessories. For the best running and workout gear for your dog, check out Ruff Wear!
Dog 5K and 10Ks are sprouting up all over the country and are becoming some of the most popular races out there! These races are perfect ways to not only push yourself but also push your pooch. Dogs make great running partners because most have natural athleticism and desire to run. In addition, these races serve as good training for your dog and are a great way to socialize your dog with others.
However, like humans, dogs need proper training before they compete in long-distance events. Give yourself and your dog plenty of time to train and learn the ropes of running together before you jump into a race. If your dog is new to running long distances, start off with short distances and slowly work your way up. It’s also important to train your dog to run beside you -- not in front or behind -- to limit the possibility of an accident. If you aren’t a runner but want to join in the fun, you can also do walk 5K and 10Ks with your dog (and you will still burn up to 200 calories doing so!)
For a complete list of dog 5K and 10Ks and to find one near you, check out this list from Runner’s World.
Hiking is one of the best (and most scenic) ways to burn some serious calories -- a 150-pound person can burn up to 600 calories in 60 minutes of rigorous hiking. Hiking isn’t just a great workout for you, it’s also great for your dog, and helps improve your dog's endurance and flexibility. Unlike racing, you don’t need to train specifically for hiking, although it’s important to know your dog's warning signs so you can be sure to stop and rehydrate. Also, before you and Fido hit the open road to find a hiking trail, make sure your designation allows dogs. Even if your favorite trail allows pets, there are usually rules and regulations you should know before you go. For example, most of the Appalachian Trail requires the dog to be on a leash the entire time, while some trails require a leash only on certain trials. For a complete guide on all the hiking trials in the US and how to locate one that allows dogs, check out the American Hiking Society.
Swimming is one of the best full-body exercises for you and your dog, since it works just about every major muscle group. This aquatic exercise also improves endurance and strengthens the heart and lungs. Since swimming is low intensity, this is a great workout for pets (or people) who are older or have joint problems, since it doesn’t put extra strain on weak muscles or joints. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a wimpy workout -- a 150-pound woman can burn up to 300 calories by swimming for 60 minutes at moderate intensity. Not all dogs love water though, so you’ll have to ease into swimming if your pup isn’t naturally aquatic. If you have a pool at your home or in your neighborhood, start off slow by playing with your pup in the kiddy pool or the shallow end. Then, as he gets more comfortable, start swimming with him n the deeper water. To add more resistance, play fetch with your dog while you swim to burn extra calories and keep your puppy entertained.
Who knew working out could be so much fun for you and your pup?
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