As the first brave flowers of spring emerge, and the memory of a seemingly endless winter begins to fade away, your thoughts may be turning to exercise and weight loss. After all, it’s likely been a while since you contemplated wearing shorts and bathing suits. Having a dog can be a great first step to getting in shape: already, Fido helps ensure that you’re getting outside on a daily basis for walks. Find out some ideas for ways that you can work exercise into your daily or weekly routine with your dog — and keep in mind, your workout will do wonders for your dog’s health, as well as your own.
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Take a Longer Walk
When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to fall into the habit of walking your dog just far enough that he relieves himself. Take advantage of the nicer weather, and extend how far you go on each day’s walk. Bored with the usual walking path? Vary your route near your home (turn left from your front door, instead of your usual right). Or try going to a new neighborhood or hiking nearby trails. Even a few blocks more on your daily walk, especially if you’re walking briskly, can help you get back in shape.
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Play Frisbee or Catch
Are you thinking that it’s your dog that does all the leaping, running, and bounding when you play fetch, frisbee, or catch? No way! Those trips to the park involve a ton of exercise for you, too, as you play along with your pup and run after the balls your dog fails to catch. Make your dog’s weekend: spend next Saturday in a nearby park throwing around a tennis ball.
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Go for a Jog
Depending on your dog’s size, training, and health, she may be a great running partner for you. Before you take up jogging, make sure your dog’s health is up for the challenge. You’ll also want to make sure it’s reasonable for her to jog alongside you — interval runs would be a real challenge for a chihuahua. Finally, you’ll want to make sure she won’t get the leash tangled up in your feet. Once you’re off and running, you may find that as a creature of habit and routine, your dog makes an excellent running companion and motivates you to hit the pavement.
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Try Something New: Doga
If you love yoga, try this twist: do doga, or dog yoga, with your dog. Doga may be the perfect pup-and-person workout for you if you like a bit of structure to your exercise, respond well to classes, and thrive on schedule and routine. Generally, the joy of a doga comes from doing the stretches and chants together with your dog in a group, classroom setting.
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Do you enjoy exercising with your dog? Leave a comment and share your workout tips! Consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more.