If you are a pet owner, spending quality time with your pet is probably one of your favorite activities. There are many benefits to being a pet lover and one of them is that pet owners tend to be more physically fit as they work to keep up with the demands of an active animal. No matter where your level of fitness stands, you can easily get fit with your pet in fun and meaningful ways.
Here’s a bonus: pets benefit too! Pets can suffer from the same health conditions as people when they are not physically active, including cardiovascular problems, diabetes, cancer and arthritis. Help your pet stay healthy by moving together this fall. Here are 9 ways to get fit with your pet:
Run, jog or walk: This is probably the most obvious way to get fit with your pet, but also the most effective. Chances are you may be doing these activities anyways. If you walk your pet regularly, gradually make your walks a little longer, especially as the weather cools and is more tolerable. Running and jogging with a pet can be motivating as they probably love the activity and encourage you to go further and faster.
Up and Down: Incorporate your pet into a complex calisthenics move such as a burpee or jumping squat. Hold a toy or pet treat in your hand and lower it as you do a squat, push-up or other low move, then switch to a higher position and make your pet jump up with you to grab the object. You’ll both be panting after about 15 reps.
Swimming: Not all pets will enjoy swimming, but certain breeds of dogs love it. Of course you will be somewhat limited by watering holes as you can probably only do this in a public lake, ocean or your own backyard swimming pool. If you have the opportunity, swim laps with your dog, practice treading water and throw a ball to see who can swim to retrieve it faster.
Fill the Food Bowls: For dogs, cats and other free-roaming pets, place food and water bowls throughout the house so you and your pet have to take more steps to get to them. If you feed your pet from a large bag of dry food, carry it around with you for extra resistance as you fill the bowls. Same with water pitchers to fill up water dishes.
Chase: Fetch is fun but rather one-sided if your pet is doing all of the leg work. Instead, play chase where you hold the object of your pets attention and have your pet chase you around your yard or a park to get it. Let your pet take a turn as well by chasing after it when it has the object. This will be a fun and exhausting game for everyone.
Agility Course: Set up a pet-appropriate obstacle course that you can participate in as well. Show your pet exactly what to do by doing it yourself. Take turns following each other through the course. Mix it up each time you play the game so you are both working different muscles and learning new skills.
Stair Master: Run or walk stairs with your pet inside your home or elsewhere. Be sure your pet stays next to you or well in your line of sight so you don’t trip over each other Stairs are excellent exercise for the heart and all lower body muscles.
Tires: Set up 6 to 10 tires in different formations and work on speed and agility by running through them quickly without falling. This works for almost any pets’ level of fitness because they can take as many steps or leaps as they want. You, on the other hand, will have to do it the old fashion way.
Inspiration: If you have a non-traditional pet, use it as inspiration and a workout buddy of sorts. Move your hamster’s cage near your treadmill and run while he’s scampering about on his wheel. Do yoga while watching the peaceful aquatic movements in your aquarium. Complete a workout video as your snake slithers about in its cage. Whatever pet you have, use it for motivation and inspiration to get yourself moving.
Remember, just like you, your pet should stay hydrated after exercise and needs great nutrition to sustain regular physical fitness activities. Have a blast while you get fit with your pet!