Three Tips to Get in Shape with your Dog
Published January 25, 2019
Did you know that 45% of Americans make a New Year resolution each year to get into shape? This year, you can make that resolution and stick to it with a little help from your dog.
Dr. Courtney Campbell, a veterinarian, host of the Dr. Courtney Show, and former host of Pet Talk offers these three fun ways to get in shape with your pet:
Walking: Staying in shape doesn’t have to be complicated. Walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise there is. Simply placing one foot in front of the other leads to some seriously impressive mental and physical benefits for you and your dog. Almost all dogs love to go for walks. When it comes to exercise, long term consistency beats short term intensity. Commit to taking your dog for multiple walks throughout the day. Because walking is not too strenuous, it’s something that you can stick to and your dog will love. There is a reason so many pet parents have to spell out W-A-L-K when having a conversation with a human – so their dog doesn’t overhear and get too excited. Not only will your daily walk keep you and your dog healthy but maybe along the way you’ll meet some amazing people who are dog lovers just like you.
Hiking: Looking to move your exercise to the next level and enjoy nature? Try going hiking. You and your dog will share time together, commune with the outdoors, and get in amazing shape. Hiking, especially on uneven ground, helps you burn more calories than walking. A light incline or decline helps you and your dog to use different leg muscles than you would on flat ground. All of these incredible physical changes are happening in the background while you and your dog are just outside having fun. As an added benefit, hiking may also protect your dog. Toning up those seldomly used muscles will help to stabilize their joints and protect them from falling or getting hurt. After a weekend, I diagnose a fair amount of overuse injuries in dogs – muscle or joint injuries caused by repetitive activity – but many of these injuries would be preventable if the muscles were properly toned. Simply put, hiking is a great workout and you can easily challenge yourself and your dog by changing your daily route. Pro Tip: Visit meetup.com or meetmydogapp.com to connect with a local hiking group that is dog friendly.
Yoga: Did you know that more than 20 million Americans practice yoga (yogajournal.com)? There’s Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, and a host of other different yoga styles. We know that for humans, yoga is richly beneficial. It has been shown to brighten your mood, increase strength and vastly improve flexibility. But Doga – yoga with your dog – is an emerging trend that combines yoga and dogs. It may help you and your pet relax, socialize and it can even serve as a source of entertainment for your dog. The true health benefits regarding Doga are still being investigated for dogs but at the very least it gives you and your dog time to enjoy each other. And that’s what being a dog lover is all about. To be sure, yoga can have great calm and soothing energy that your dog may enjoy but it’s important to listen to your dog. If your dog doesn’t seem into Doga, it is probably best to stop and come back and try again another day. If you’re interested and want to learn more, grab your yoga mat, find a a Doga practitioner and enjoy some peaceful tunes while you stretch with your dog.
For more tips, listen to Dr. Courtney’s Show.