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From improving your mood and boosting energy to losing weight and promoting better sleep, we all know the benefits of exercise.
But when you have a dog, finding time to put on your trainers and do a workout can often be difficult. So why not get your pooch involved?
Here, we look at 7 ways to get fit – and spend time with your dog.
Your dog plus the great outdoors. What more could you want?
If your canine companion hasn’t been on a hike before, start small. As with humans, dogs need to build their endurance so while you might like the idea of heading up Ben Nevis for your first owner-doggo climb, it’s probably not wise.
Make sure you stick to visible pathways, take food and water, pack a first aid kit and take a dog jacket just in case the weather turns.
Also, bring a lead – some places may require one, plus it will help keep your dog under close control near livestock.
There are swimming baths across the country dedicated to dogs, so you don’t have to worry about your pooch interrupting another swimmer’s morning breaststroke.
Swimming not only helps get your dog ready for doggy paddling on the outside but can also help with things like joint problems and arthritis, weight loss and mental and physical stimulation. What’s more, owners can get involved too, with canine swimming lessons helping them to bond with their dog and offering a low impact exercise.
Running with your dog is a fun and easy way for you both to get fit – but not all pooches are suitable for long distance sprints. The PDSA suggests considering their breed (flat faced dogs can struggle with their breathing, for example), general health, age and personality before picking running as your exercise of choice.
Before heading out, pack some water and a dog bowl to allow for regular drinking breaks during your route. Check the weather too – if it’s warm, it may be best running early in the morning or late at night to avoid your dog suffering from dehydration or burnt paws.
Have you ever tried doga – or dog yoga – before? If not, you’re missing out.
Doga is a way to practice yoga with your pooch, getting them involved with your usual stretching and strengthening poses.
Of course, your dog won’t be able to do every single pose you do, but you could guide them through yoga moves like the downward dog. Alternatively, if you go to a doga class, your canine may not get involved in the stretches, but instead bond with the other dogs and feel relaxed through the calming atmosphere.
Agility training involves teaching your pooch to tackle obstacles around a set course, such as jumping over hurdles, running through tunnels and maneuvering a see-saw.
Dogs will often zoom from one piece of equipment to the next, so it’s not just them who get a workout – their owners do too!
Agility training can also help your dog build confidence, develop self-control and improve their behaviour. Where do we sign up?!
Now, it’s unlikely that your dog will be doing a lunge or sit-up but circuit training provides an ideal way to spend time together.
Get your pooch involved during your workout by getting them to sit on your back as you do a push-up (only if they’re small enough!) or giving the paw when you do a sit-up. They could even sit each time you squat!
Live near a lake or canal? Dog love swimming? Got the ‘sit’ command nailed? Then kayaking might be the exercise for you.
Ensure the kayak can comfortably and safely fit both you and your pooch, and buy a doggy life jacket. If it’s your dog’s first time out on the water, choose a quiet and calm lake and keep near the banks so your pooch can get on dry land should they need to.
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