Many of us now work from home – perhaps permanently. One of the drawbacks of working from home is the allure of the cushy couch or recliner.
The “power nap” that becomes a full-blown two-hour sleepfest.
The ever-present tempting snacks.
These work-from-home “benefits” add up to a sedentary lifestyle, which can lead to related health problems.
Humans benefit from regular movement, and so do our furry friends. You and your pet can mutually improve your health by developing an exercise routine you can do together.
Whether you’re looking to make a lifestyle change or need an activity you can do with your pet during lunch breaks, include your pet in the fun!
The benefits of daily walks
People and dogs burn energy at close to the same rate when walking. This energy (calorie) burn will help you and your pet maintain healthy weight. Your dog will enjoy joining you as a companion for a walk or run in the fresh air.
A daily walk with your pet will help you both develop overall fitness, which reduces the risk of diseases that affect quality of life.
Exercise and fresh air also improve quality of sleep—for both of you.
Dogs and people have similar walking speeds when focused.
Keeping up with your dog’s steady, undistracted, walking pace will provide both of you with an adequate aerobic workout.
Pay attention to your pet’s tolerance of exercise, and consult your veterinarian if you have questions.
Our pets are our companions, but we (and they) still need a change of scenery. It’s good to go outdoors and experience the neighborhood. This environmental stimulation is healthy for both of you, and may improve your pet’s behavior once you return home. In addition, you and your pet may meet and interact with others on your walk.
You and your pet can motivate each other to exercise.
People and dogs are creatures of habit, and you’ll both find satisfaction in the routine. Your pet’s enjoyment of the exercise will help you enjoy it more, and vice versa.
A walk and/or outdoor playtime provides the perfect opportunity for quality interaction with your pet—which is what you both need. These experiences result in more than physical health; they contribute to overall well-being.
Preparing to exercise with your pet
Consider your pet’s abilities and temperament when deciding how to exercise. Some pets love to run. Others will do better with a steady walking pace. Intervals of walking and jogging might provide extra intensity for you and beneficial “rest breaks” for your pet.
Keep your pet in mind when choosing a walking/running route. With the same route every day, you will know what to expect and become familiar with turns and surface nuances.
Varying the route, however, provides new sensory experiences for you and your pet. This might be more important in a neighborhood than in a natural setting. Each day the same path in nature can still provide new delights.
Spring and early summer is a great time to begin a new exercise routine with your favorite pet. Enjoy the sunshine together—along with many other benefits!