|Image courtesy of Mediaplanet|
The benefits of exercise are not limited to the two-legged set; as obesity is on the rise for both pets and their humans, the importance of fitting fitness into your routine should not be overlooked. Here are some fun and unique ways to move beyond the walk with your dog:
There is nothing like enjoying nature with your faithful companion at your side. Trail systems can be found even in some of the most urban areas, and there are national forests and county sponsored open spaces just waiting to be explored. Be sure to let someone know where you're going and when to expect you back, follow leash laws, take appropriate emergency supplies and plenty of water for you and your dog.
High-energy dogs are especially well-suited for accompanying you on a morning jog, but most healthy dogs can join you for a few miles. Build up slowly with intervals of walking and running - the Couch to 5k program is a great way to start. Dr. Sophia Yin's article explains running with your dog in more detail.
Forget zumba - how about dancing with your dog? Canine freestyle is a dog sport that incorporates a choreographed trick routine with music and costumes. Even if you don't compete and are just spinning and leg-weaving through your living room, the possibilities are endless!
Doggie Yoga (Doga)
Doga is a fairly new phenomenon combining quality dog time with downward-facing dog. In a world where dogs are increasingly welcome in offices, bars and restaurants, the yoga studio is opening its doors as well. Doga classes instruct inter-species partners in meditation, massage and stretching.
Tug Squats - do a series of squats while holding one end of your dog's favorite tug toy
Sit-Stay Lunges - place your dog in a sit-stay while you do a series of static lunges
Recall Relay - place your dog in a down stay, then walk or jog across the room away from them (depending on the strength of your dog's stays). Call the dog to you. Repeat.
Core Strength - alternate sets of crunches for you and puppy push ups for your dog.
The key to any successful exercise program is keeping it fun, and I can't think of a more enjoyable way to get fit than with a favorite dog by my side!
This article was written in collaboration with Mediaplanet to celebrate the most recent cross-platform edition of the Pet Wellness campaign, as seen on petcarenews.com. For more ideas on how to build a fitness partnership with your dog, see their featured fitness article.
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