Let your dog lead your fitness plan

Retreiver By the Sea

Despite their best intentions many people find it difficult to keep up a regular exercise regime. All too often it’s tempting to stay indoors rather than brave the elements, especially when you’re tired from a day spent at work or looking after the children.

But one of the bonuses of being a dog owner is that a daily walk together can boost your fitness, helping both of you to stay trim. Having an exercise buddy is one of the best forms of motivation – but unlike some of your friends, a dog will be raring to go whatever the weather. Even if you don’t feel like going out, the sight of your pooch standing expectantly by the door is sure to change your mind.

There are many forms of exercise that will benefit both you and your dog, whether it’s a long walk in a scenic place or a brisk morning jog. Even standing and throwing a ball will give your arm muscles a good work out and being in the open air is certainly better than pounding on a treadmill in an over-priced gym.

The Kennel Club recognises the fact that owning a dog is a great way to stay in shape with its Get Fit With Fido campaign. The initiative highlights the fact that it costs nothing and there is even a prize in store for the dog or owner who loses the most weight in the Slimmer of the Year competition.

However, it is vital that you consider the health and welfare of your dog when you’re out training. Busy roads are a major hazard so only well-trained dogs should be allowed to run without a lead and you should remember to bring your pet under control before reaching a crossing.

Just as you would build up your own fitness gradually you should do the same with your dog. Start off with a steady jog before trying something more adventurous. The type of exercise you do will also depend on the breed of dog, for example, greyhounds are fast sprinters so would not be suited to endurance runs.

Nutrition is also important and you might find that you have to increase your dog’s food intake if you are undertaking strenuous exercise. You should also ensure your pet is well hydrated before, during and after exercise.

With your best friend by your side there is almost no limit to the places you can explore - so what are you waiting for? 

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