Fun ways to exercise
Fun ways to exercise are always on everyone's radar. Why not include your pet? Working out with your pets is good for both of you. Almost half of all dogs in the U.S. are overweight, so team up to lose weight together. That's why we made a list of "Fun ways to exercise" with dogs and other animals, and tips to keep in mind while doing so.
Benefits of Working Out With Pets
- Get fit together. Depending on their age and other factors, most dogs need at least 45 minutes of exercise daily. Experts recommend that people engage in physical activity for a half hour or more at least 3 times a week.
Exercise more consistently. Studies show that people were more likely to stick to an exercise program when their dog was involved. Your motivation will be stronger when you’re having fun.
- Increase bonding. Spending time together with your pets improves your relationship. Many activities also provide opportunities to reinforce training.
- Reduce unwanted behaviors. Boredom is often to blame when pets behave badly. Fetching a Frisbee will divert your dog from chewing up your furniture or digging up your garden.
Fun ways to exercise with your dog
- Check with your veterinarian. Schedule checkups with your doctor and your veterinarian before you get started. It’s especially important if you’ve been sedentary up until now or if either of you are seniors.
- Pick the right breed. Ensure your dog fits your lifestyle. Some breeds tolerate hot or cold weather better. Working breeds will relish keeping up with the most ardent fitness fanatic.
Watch for overheating. Dogs cannot sweat, so watch for signs of heat exhaustion. If you see excessive panting and loss of balance, give them water and rest in a shady spot.
- Bike in safe areas. There are conflicting opinions about whether it’s safe to bike or roller blade with a dog. Devices that tie a dog to a wheeled vehicle could be dangerous if you take a spill. When trying out this fun way to exercise, stick to soft surfaces and safe routes if you want to try it.
- Control the leash. Keeping a leash in your hand provides more security than tying it to your wrist or waist. Train your dog to obey voice commands too.
- Go on a hike. Hiking can be a fun way to exercise with your dog, and a great way for both of you to get some fresh air. Just make sure to keep a tight grip on the leash!
Take a walk. Daily walks are a fun way to exercise, strengthen your heart and bones and improve your overall well being. Use them as the centerpiece of your program.
- Go running. Most dogs are better designed for short bursts of activity rather than long runs. If you want to jog, build up to longer distances gradually, include time for warming up and cooling down, and watch for signs of over exertion.
- Try cross country skiing. Skijooring classes can be one of the most fun ways to exercise that will teach you both to ski. Your dog will usually need to weigh at least 35 pounds so that he can pull you with a harness.
- Play games. Add variety with interactive toys and agility courses. Buy equipment or build your own hurdles and tunnels.
Working Out With Other Animals
Entertain your cat. Cats need stimulation too, but most games suitable for them burn few calories for humans. Some fun ways to exercise with them include running around with a laser pointer, tossing a ball for fetch (yes, cats like fetch too!), and some cats also enjoy being held while the owner rides a stationary bike.
- Lose weight with horseback riding. Riding a horse is a great whole body workout because you flex your muscles to maintain your balance. Controlling a galloping horse burns about as many calories as running.
- Be prudent about exotic animals. Some unusual pets, like spiders, are relatively easy to care for but contribute little to your physical training. On the other hand, think carefully before you commit to bringing home a monkey who will be very demanding in terms of exercise and companionship.
A more active lifestyle helps you and your furry loved ones live a longer and healthier life. Fun ways to exercise may be all you need to shape up or you can diversify your routine with other games and sports.