Seven tricks of turning your Dog walks into Workouts
Taking your furry friend for a walk probably involves lots of sniffing about and a hello here and there to fellow dog walkers – all at a leisurely pace that doesn’t amount to much exercise.
But believe it or not, your canine buddy makes the best workout partner. Unlike humans, he has no last-minute cancellations, never complains how hilly the terrain is and will happily remind you when the clock hits workout time.
As your biological reminder, your dog will keep you in check even on those cold training days you want to lazy around. Then why not turn your daily dog walks into a workout? Remember, working out together not only improves your health but boost the bond between man and dog. So, if you are considering that as an option, here are seven ways to turn your dog walks into workouts.
Get to know your dog’s limits
A puppy’s walking ability varies greatly from that of a senior canine while a German shepherd needs more exercise than a Labradoodle. Different dogs have different energy levels. It is best to first understand your dog's physical constraints before turning your morning walks into a great workout session. Find a rhythm that works for the both of you.
Establish a workout routine
Dogs are great at following schedules, especially if it is one that involves a lot of outdoor time. Look for a daily walk routine that fits your lifestyle and gives you enough room to incorporate exercise in-to it. It can be a twenty to thirty minutes’ stroll that rewards both you and your four-legged friend with plenty of mental, physical and emotional stimuli.
Change the train
Instead of your normal power walks down the park, try going hiking- it’s a bit more challenging with a change of scenery. Remember, terrain and pace matter more than distance. When you get a hilly trail that is covered in green, you tend to build more strength and endurance due to the challenge this terrain offers. Furthermore, the change of view mentally stimulates your dog - he will find it adventurous and will be eager to go out on the run next time hoping for more discovery.
Try reprogramming your dog slowly especially if he has grown fond of leisurely strolls. This might take several sessions before he gets used to the new routine. However, this does not mean that you completely sideline those relaxing walks – it basically involves having clear distinctions from regular strolls to more powerful energizing walk up the hill. For instance, many dogs can distinguish the kind of walk based on whether they get to wear a leash or not.
Switch things up
A walking routine gets boring over time, so how do you keep things fresh even on day twenty-two of your workout session? Well, a change of routine should do the trick. Try changing the pace, increasing the distance, adding more physical and mental stimuli to keep both you and your dog motivated and involved in the workout session.
Look out for jumping, skipping, and pull up opportunities
An excellent way to turn your world in-to a gym is to look out for trees, monkey bars, park benches, and other nature furniture to get your heart rate up. And to motivate your dog during the workout is by giving them a reward – it could be a snack or a favorite puzzle toy they like. By doing so, your dog will be inspired to join you for the next morning run. He will even remind you when the time to go out for a walk comes.
Try adding weights to the workout plan
Weights are a great way to add extra effort to your workout program. If you prefer no leash jogs, try carrying some extra weight on your hands. For your dog, you can add weight vests, but it is important to consult a vet first. Weight vests tend to cause unnecessary knee, back and hip problems for your dog.
Getting the most out of your walk workouts
In order for both you and your dog to get the most from walk workouts, your dog needs to know how to move at the same pace beside you, rather than being behind or in front of you. Whether jogging, power walking, or running with your dog, she should be in the shoulder-at-knee heel position. This position allows the two of you to move as one, reducing the risk of colliding into each other along the way.
Furthermore, try increasing your pace and distance after short warm-ups. Keep in mind that your dog benefits physically and mentally from playtime. As a result, it is best to get creative by finding ways to play with your dog that also provides plenty of exercise for you. If he or she likes running off leash free at the park, run along with her. If retrieving a ball gives her a blood rush, throw it and race her for it.
Benefits of daily walks for you and the dog
Tired, under-exercised dogs tend to develop behavior problems that can be resolved through adding more physical activity into their daily schedule. When you turn your daily walks into a workout there are plenty of benefits both you and your dog tend to gain. They include:
Lowering obesity chances.
Reduce chances of heart disease.
Lowers diabetes rates due to cholesterol build up.
Prevents joint diseases due to tensed muscles.
Strengthens the bond between you and the dog as you spend more time together.
Mental stimulation for both you and the dog through increased blood circulation.
Emotional balance through stimulation of antidepressant hormones.
Prevents dementia in senior dogs.
When done correctly, your daily walks can turn into a powerful energy-boosting workout session. All you need is to establish a strike routine accompanied with occasional twists and plots to keep it fresh and motivational for both you and the dog. By doing so, you stand to benefit greatly in terms of physical, mental and emotional health. Rather than hitting the gym for a workout and leaving your canine friend out in the dark, why not try powerful walk sessions that boost your friendship level as well as your physical health.