How your dog can keep you fit
As autumn ends and the thought of snow and frost creeps closer to reality, getting up and keeping fit can seem like the hardest thing in the world.
For many, early morning jogs and evening walks can seem like an almost impossible task but dog owners across the country know that getting up early doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it can be a delight. One that keeps you and your pets both physically and mentally fit.
Petplan explores the benefits that dog walking can offer to both you and your pet.
Keeping in shape takes a large spoonful of dedication and an even larger spoonful of motivation, which is all too often the problem. Luckily for dog owners that motivation isn’t hard to muster up when your dog is staring up at you wide-eyed and ready to go. Whether you realise it or not, taking your dog for a walk is killing two birds with one stone; improving your dog’s wellbeing and keeping yourself fit.
If you want to get the most out of your walks, try to pick up the pace and walk quicker than your regular speed to increase your heart rate. To intensify this further, try incorporating hills into your route to burn more calories.
Walking the dog is a great place to start, however if you’re looking for a more impactful workout your local park could be the answer. Free of pedestrians and crossings, you are free to jog or run with your dog at your pleasure. The park also allows for you to integrate fun activities and games that will help keep both you and your dog’s fitness levels high. A few great activities you can try are Frisbee, chase and tug of war, as well as creating your own agility circuit using cones.
On top of this, your dog can possibly be the best work-out partner you’ve ever had – no whining, flaking or boasting! Furthermore, their need to be walked and given the opportunity to run free creates a sense of accountability for you to get up and get out.
Of course, be mindful of your dogs own stamina. Larger dogs may be able to keep pace with you but smaller dogs may struggle after a while. Always make sure your dog has the energy to go on these walks and keep an eye out for any signs of tiring. You don’t want to have to carry them all the way home if you go too far out!
Whilst being physically fit is essential, spending time with your dog can be a great opportunity to clear your mind and improve your mental fitness. Mental health is an extremely common concern, one that does not discriminate. Fortunately, the stigma that once surrounded mental health is slowly being eradicated, an open conversation is starting to be had and finding ways to help improve people’s mental health is becoming a priority.
It is often discussed that dogs can help improve your mental health and here’s how.
Stress and loneliness are amongst the huge selection of things that can contribute towards an unhealthy mental state, that can eventually lead to anxiety and depression. Positive interactions with your dog whether it be at home or out for a walk can help to increase serotonin levels and reduce the feeling of being stressed. Loneliness and depression go hand in hand, spending time with your dog encourages the positive feelings that having a companion brings.
There you have it, these are a just a few examples of how your dog helps to keep you fit both physically and mentally. What activities do you and your dog do to keep fit? Let us know in the comments below.