We all know that we are supposed to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, and we all know that usually doesn't happen. Work gets in the way and we push it off until "tomorrow." However, when we overlook our own exercise routines, we are also overlooking that of our canine friends. And as much as you don't want to exercise, your dog does - and needs to.
Although the amount of exercise your dog needs changes from breed to breed, studies show that most dogs need, at minimum, one hour of active exercise a day to stay healthy. But good news! (I know, you're thinking, "How is that good news? That means I have to exercise twice as long!") Keeping your dog active not only holds you accountable for committing to your own exercise routine, it also gives you more quality time to spend with your pup - and it's easy, too!
Take baby steps: Make sure that your pet understands some basic training commands beforehand. It is helpful to begin with short walks or jogs about 15-20 minutes in length and to choose safe areas to do so. Over time, as you and your pet become more comfortable with the routine, feel free to add distance, time, and difficulty as you feel is best appropriate. The goal is to exercise, not wear out. For tips on how you can gradually enhance your routine, check out our 5k training plan for running with your dog.
Keep records: Use a calendar to make sure that you’re tracking your joint progress. A simple guideline to help doing this is by setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals for distance, time, and diet. There are excellent resources for these kinds of guidelines available online for free through the National Institute of Health (NIH).
Enjoy yourself: Dogs, like most pets, are naturally curious and playful! Make sure to indulge them! The more you look at the time you two are able to spend together as fun and less as work, the more enjoyable the entire experience will be for both parties, even when you’re completely pooped after a workout. Kurgo makes a great line of toys based on classic yard games that will make you forget you're even exercising! They're fun for both you and your dog. Also be sure to download our free e-book on fun yard games you can play with your dog for more ideas!
Get the family involved: Depending on your exercise schedule, it doesn’t always have to be you that makes sure that your pet gets their daily exercise! Family members are there to help each other when necessary, and this is a perfect example of everyone having an opportunity to pitch in and make a difference.
Maintain a proper doggy diet: For owners looking to improve metabolism and endurance in their dogs, diets that are high in healthy fats and protein will help increase both of these attributes as long as they have constant access to water. Remaining hydrated when performing physical activity is essential for both pets and humans alike.
We hope that these simple tips can help you and your family stay healthy and fit!