It’s International Yoga Day, folks, and on this occasion, we’d like to talk about something that is fundamental to your dog’s overall health and well-being: exercise. Not just that, but we’ll do you one better -- today, we’d like to talk about how you can exercise with your dog. Not only will this ensure that you and your pooch are fit to the bone, but it will also enable you to spend some quality time bonding with your pet!
If you’re someone who lacks the motivation to start exercising (join the club, because our ResQ Centre is full of an exotic brand of Couchium potatocus), has a pet that needs to find new avenues to exert that unbridled energy and excitement, or is simply seeking an innovative way to enjoy your workout (and make some truly wonderful memories while at it) -- read on!
Our furry pals can be the best workout buddies. Their energy is downright contagious, and their unquestioning willingness to follow us -- whether rain, storm, walking, or running -- is the best kind of positive motivation one could ask for.
In fact, research from Michigan State University found that dog owners are 34% more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week than people who don’t have a dog. Which means, even if you're just taking your pup for a walk -- that counts!
But did you know that there are lots of other activities you and your furball can do together, all while further strengthening your bond and having loads of fun?
Check out these fun new ways to get fit with your pooch!
Because dogs are creatures of habit, they can help you keep up your daily targets: once your pet gets into the routine of a morning run, he won't let you skip this no matter what. If you aren’t a morning person but your dog is -- prepare to have your attitude towards morning (and exercise!) forever altered, because your pooch’s excitement at being able to bond with you over a morning run is enough to win over even the grouchiest of morning people.*
*This article was written by a Certified Grouch, who can confirm that Pooch Excitement can win over the laziest of morning haters.
2. Stair Climbing
Climbing stairs is a high-calorie burning aerobic exercise that makes your quads and glutes work extra hard. Not only this, but it will also help your dog burn excess energy (and weight!), and is a great way to boost your pet’s coordination and agility skills. As stair climbing and descending involves working out the leg, shoulder, hip, and lower back muscles, this is much more intensive an activity as compared to running, and is not recommended for dogs (or humans) that suffer from hip or joint related issues.
Best of all is the look on your dog’s face when you offer that hard-earned treat at the end of a long but rewarding session!
3. You Fetch, I Fetch
You toss, and your pal disappears after his favourite toy. But why give up on the opportunity to burn calories by just standing there? While he's retrieving, bust out some muscle-building moves like crunches, lunges, squats, and more, until you're both panting and worn out. Even better, race him for the ball, stick, or frisbee, and squeeze in some sprints while at it. Fetch can be a game you play, too!
Is your dog so excited about walks, you worry he might one day pull your arm off? If so, try letting him keep up with you as you pedal. Biking is perfect for dogs with excess energy, and they LOVE the opportunity to flat-out run (though do ensure you have a firm handle on their leash). Meanwhile, you're getting a great workout and building your leg muscles -- it’s a win/win, as far as we’re concerned!
5. Dog Yoga (Doga!)
Yep, "doga" is a thing (it’s 2018 -- were you expecting any less?), and the best part is, it comes to canines naturally! Ever seen your dog wake up and stretch? In doga, you can help her try more poses that are comfortable and natural to her, and she’ll even help you achieve certain asanas, making the entire experience a fun, stress-free way to enhance your bond!
Yoga is a fantastic means to strengthening your physical, mental, and spiritual core, and is a great way to relax an otherwise excitable or anxious dog. For those dogs and humans who suffer from arthritis or other issues that would prevent them from heavy physical exertion, yoga is an efficient way to stretch, relax, and stay fit.
But really, doga is all about the pet-human bond. Just look at how adorably in sync this Dog/Mom pair is!
"What about my Meow Machine?"
Considering that cats are born Yoga Masters, for our wonderful cat parents out there, we bring to you one of those rare gems on the internet:
Don't have a dog?
You can still work out with one! Call a local animal shelter and volunteer to take dogs out for walks or runs.
Want to meet some of the furries at our Lucky Pet Adoption Centre, or volunteer with ResQ? Contact us!
Special thanks to our fantastic volunteer, Aishwarya Deshmukh, for coming up with the idea for this blog post!