September 24th is Family Health and Fitness Day, and since most of us consider our dogs to be a part of the family, it’s a good to time to focus on helping our pet stay active, too. Busy schedules can make it difficult to find time to stay fit. Add to that our screen-based society. The pull toward technology—internet, social media, texting, gaming—makes it even more challenging to be physically fit.
Pets can help us stay active, though. Here are a few ideas for incorporating your pooch into your work out:
- Run. Strap a leash on your dog and go. It’s one of the best ways for humans and animals to burn calories. (And, it’s free!)
- Play Frisbee or catch outdoors. Your pooch will love it, and being outside is great for lowering stress levels.
- Swim. Few things burn as many calories as swimming. Not all dogs love water, but many do.
- Play chase. It’s as simple as games get, but the challenge of it can take your mind off the difficulty of the cardiovascular workout. Get the kids involved in this one!
- Yoga—or “doga.” That’s right. It’s a thing! There are yoga classes specifically designed to incorporate pets. Dogs can be used as weights for balance and strengthening exercises.
- Hike. Explore nature with your pet.
- Bike or skate. Exercise caution with this one, but it’s possible to safely bike and rollerblade/skate while tethering your pet with a leash.
If you’re low on yard room, community dog parks are a great place to run free and also meet other dog owners. Try websites like dog geeks to find dog parks near you.