Do you come home tired from the gym and the only quality time you spend with your pet is on the couch? If you’re busy, why not combine two activities into one and exercise with your pet? There are many sports you can do with your pet to keep you both fit and happy. The two of you will get to exercise and, most importantly, get to spend some fun together.
Below you can find 7 different sports and activities you can do alongside your pet. Dogs are great exercising partners and they will surely enjoy spending time with their favorite human while having lots of fun.
If they have a backyard where pets can go and enjoy the outdoors, many pet owners stop going on walks with their pets. However, walking your dog is a great way for the dog to socialize, meet neighbors’ pets, and do some light exercising. For small dogs, walking is all the exercise they need, especially for breeds like Pugs or French Bulldogs who can experience breathing problems if you exercise them for too long.
Walking is oftentimes overlooked by people who exercise regularly. But walking comes with many health benefits that cannot be ignored, such as maintaining a healthy weight, strengthening the bones and muscles, improving the mood, increasing balance and coordination, and stretching the legs. So don’t skip the dog walks; they are as good for them as they are for you.
If you want to take things up a notch and your dog can handle it, turn the regular walking into power walking or jogging. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up and relieve some stress. You can also do interval training if both you and your dog are up for it. To do so, alternate quick sprints with slow jogs.
Dogs make great running companions, with some breeds enjoying the activity more than the others. For example, a well-fed and fit German Shepard will definitely enjoy running with their owner. If you want to go for a run with your dog, start with short distances and build it from there. With a big dog, you can go on longer runs in a short time. Make sure to bring water for you and your pet since it’s important for both of you to stay hydrated during a run. Soft ground is better for people and pets alike so if you have a trekking or hiking trail nearby, you should take your dog there. Keep in mind that, after about two hours of running, your dog might need a small snack.
Running is a great activity you can do with your dog to keep you both fit. Since it is a form of aerobic exercise, running improves heart health, alleviates stress symptoms, improves mood, and helps maintain heart health.
4. Get On A Treadmill
Walking, jogging, and running are great outdoor activities for you and your pet. But what about those rainy days when going out for a run seems more like a nightmare than a fun activity? If you own a treadmill, you probably replace outdoor runs with running on the treadmill during cold and rainy days.
Next time, include your pet. Dogs can learn very fast how to run on a treadmill and, with proper supervision, they can do it safely. Moreover, if you own a cat, you can also train the cat to join you and your dog on the treadmill. Cats are oftentimes less active than dogs and they can easily gain weight. However, with the right nutrition and proper exercise, cats can be healthy and happy for a long period of time. So don’t overlook your cat when you and your dog run on the treadmill. Both dogs and cats can be enticed to get on a treadmill with a toy and some treats. Make sure you start slow and work up so your pets can stay safe. Pets tend to copy their owners’ actions so you should go on the treadmill first to spark their interest.
Agility is a very popular sport for dogs but it’s a great way to exercise for people too. In the sport, dogs move through an obstacle course guided by their handlers. The handler has to run with the dogs to guide them with their voice and body language.
Accuracy and speed are important for the dogs and their owner because, in order to move fast and successfully through the obstacle course, dogs and their handlers have to coordinate.
Before joining agility classes, you have to make sure your dog excels in obedience training. But, if you just want to do it for fun and the benefits of physical activity, you can practice at home with your dog. You can purchase weave polls and climbing equipment and set them up in your backyard. Some dog parks have agility equipment you can use to burn excess energy and do exercises to keep both you and your pet fit.
Jumping over hurdles is a fun and addictive activity for both humans and pets. It’s a great cardio activity but it also helps with toning the body. While jumping over hurdles is a trickier activity to incorporate into daily walks, you can still do it when you come across low walls. Or you can invest in some jump bars both you and your dog can use for training. These are easy to install in your backyard and they make for a fun and effective activity. You can also DIY your own hurdles using two poles and rope.
Alternate hurdles training with HIIT exercises, such as jumping rope, jumping jacks, and draw sprints while your dog is having fun with the hurdles. This is a great idea if you want to burn visceral fat.
Last but not least – do lunges with your dog. In your backyard or even when you’re out for a walk or run with your dog, work out your legs with lunges. You can practice on steps or low walls while you’re giving your dog a break from running or jogging. In fact, lunging is great for dogs too, as it has the same effect on them as it has on humans, which is stretching and strengthening the legs. It can be a little tricky to teach your dog how to do lunges but most dogs get it eventually.
Partnering with your pet to exercise together is a great way to spend quality time with them and burn calories at the same time so don’t miss out on the fun! Your pet will love it, you will love it, and both of you will stay fit and healthy.