The best workout partner is the one who makes you forget you’re exercising because you’re having so much fun. That's why teaming up with Fido is such an easy decision. Dog owners walk an average of 300 minutes per week while non-dog owners walk about 168 minutes each week. Having a dog already keeps you on your toes, so take full advantage! It might surprise you how much you guys end up pushing each other. At the end of it, you’ll both have had an awesome sweat, strengthening your muscles and your bond.
Fetch: You can use a frisbee, tennis ball or Squeakers the pink monkey. Instead of tossing and waiting for your dog to bring it back to you, run after it! You can switch it up by doing squats, pushups or holding a plank from the time you toss it to the time your best friend returns it.
Agility Sprints: These are super easy to throw into your play time. Take your dog’s favorite toy or ball and run for it. Your dog will chase you, but don’t let him corner you. Use quick v-cuts and pivots to twist and turn. Like a running back going for a quick slant, don’t let your dog know your route! Try to keep this up for at least five minutes to ignite your carb-burning system.
Hikes: Take it slow and steady or add a jog to it. Trail running can be really effective if you’re both experienced, but it’s not recommended to try it straight out of the gate. Long distance or endurance exercises are ideal for dogs between 2 and 8 years old who are in great health. Younger pups are still developing and older dogs will appreciate the shorter bursts of play.
Swimming: Most dogs love to swim (sorry, bulldogs will sink!). Find a dog-friendly pool, lake or beach and jump in! Incorporate a game of fetch with your dog while you tread water. You can also try swimming laps with your workout buddy if your dog is quite comfortable in the water. Make sure there’s an easy exit for your dog in case he decides he needs a break. Check out some life vests and keep an eye on him the entire time. Not all dogs like water or innately know how to swim, so take it slow!
Rollerblading/Biking: If your dog loves to move, utilize his energy as a propellor on a leash during your next rollerblading or biking outing. Make sure your dog knows commands and is ready to listen to you. You really don’t want him to take off in a sprint when you’re trying to brake! Some dogs are weary around big wheels (even strollers) so test it out with a slow pace around the neighborhood first.
Walking: Nothing like a good walk with your best friend to get your body moving and clear your mind. Add walking lunges and go for gradual hills to create a challenge. Dogs needs to be walked daily for at least 30 minutes. For dogs younger than 18 months or those who are older, experiencing pain or health issues, you can trim this down into a couple 10-minute walks a day. Mix in some of the other fun exercises and games mentioned here.