By Darren Floro-Bryant
Downward dog, dog paddling, or anything else to get you and Rover, dog gone tired! It’s time to get you and your 4-legged best friend some exercise – together! The summer is practically here, and our pups love this weather just as much as we do, so let’s take a break from our routine and look for ways on how we can incorporate our furry friends into our fitness regimen. Our dogs love spending time with us and these activities will not only keep you both active but strengthen your connection.
Walk, Run, and Fetch!
Let’s start with something simple that we sometimes take for granted; let’s go for a walk! If you typically only have time to let your pup out into the yard before you leave for work, take them out for a walk in your neighborhood to get little extra cardio in. If you already walk your dog every day, try a different route or find an area of the city you’ve never been to before and explore. The BeltLine (or any of the other trails around town) is a great way to discover new neighborhoods. Plus, the BeltLine has the added bonus of agility training while you dodge and weave around the other people with pets following this great advice.
The same thing goes if you’re a runner. Look for a local 5k or 10k pet-friendly race and train with your dog; you may even find one that benefits animal groups. Just keep in mind your dog’s breed as some weather Georgia’s heat and humidity better than others. Whether walking or running, your dog will be a loyal workout partner and help you stay on your routine. They will be waiting by your sneakers with a leash ready.
For a change in terrain, take your dog on a hike by the river or up in the mountains. Your dog will love to get out in nature as much as you do. In addition, the new sights and smells for your pup will keep them motivated and added exercise will tucker them out. Just be mindful of any possible wildlife you may come across or rough, uneven trails.
For something a little different, grab a tennis ball and play fetch. You can even increase the intensity by adding in squats, lunges, planks, or push-ups while your dog retrieves the ball. Or, join in the fun and race your dog to get to the ball first, adding sprints into your workouts. When your dog decides the fun is over and doesn’t bring the ball back, you get the fun of running to get the ball yourself!!
When the weather gets too hot, go for a swim with your pup! You can even play fetch in the water. It will be fun, refreshing and add a little intensity.
If you’re looking for a little resistance training, grab a rope and play a friendly game of tug-o-war. You will not only get a great arm workout, but your pup will get a great full body work out making them stronger and also tiring them out in the process. Just make sure to stay in charge and end the play when you’ve had enough to keep it fun and avoid your dog getting too aggressive.
In addition to the above exercises, other options include rollerblading, cycling, stair climbing, or even dog yoga.
We all know the benefits of exercise for ourselves but regular exercise and attention is essential to helping to keep your pet mentally and physically healthy. All of this extra activity will help burn off some of that extra energy, cure any boredom, and decrease behavioral issues for your pup, and it will also help you burn a few extra calories yourself.
The best part about doing any of these activities with your little fur ball is the recovery time! Taking a break and resting together or cuddling will be a rewarding, bonding experience for the two of you.
Whatever activity you choose, whether it be from the examples listed above or something else you will enjoy doing together, don’t forget to bring enough water to keep you both hydrated and snacks to keep you both fueled up.