How To Get Fit With Your Dog in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide to Pet-Assisted Fitness
Unleashing Fitness with Your Furry Friend
As we step into 2024, the perennial resolution to get fit resurfaces with renewed vigor. This year, however, the pathway to fitness might just wag its tail and bark.
Integrating your dog into your fitness routine not only promises better health for both but also strengthens the bond you share.
The Power of a Four-Legged Fitness Buddy
According to a YouGov survey, while about 50% of people commit to getting fit each New Year, only a small fraction sticks to it. Here’s where your canine companion can be your best motivator.
Sean Prichard, a certified canine fitness coach and the president of Pant & Wag, emphasizes the consistency a dog brings to your workout routine. Their eagerness for physical activity is infectious, making them perfect workout partners.
Fighting Obesity: A Dual Battle
Statistics from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reveal that over half of dogs are overweight. This mirrors a similar trend in humans, with the CDC reporting that around 40% of U.S. adults are in the same category.
The solution? Swap solo gym sessions for joint workouts with your dog.
Creating an Engaging Fitness Plan with Your Dog
Prichard advocates for a variety of activities to keep the fitness regime exciting. Watching the joy and enthusiasm of a dog during a workout can greatly motivate owners. It’s not just about walking; it’s about being inventive in how you and your dog exercise.
Rethinking the Daily Walk
The average dog walk, as per VCA Animal Hospital, is a leisurely 20-minute stroll. To truly impact your fitness, more vigorous and varied exercise is needed.
The Art of Cross-Training
Cross-training offers a solution for a dynamic and comprehensive workout. It’s about diversifying your exercise routine – think a runner cycling or a swimmer trying weight training. This approach keeps the workout fresh and targets different muscle groups.
Prichard’s Top Dog-Inclusive Workouts
- Hill Climbs: Engage the hind legs of your dog and your glutes.
- Agility Courses: Boost cardio and flexibility for both.
- Swimming: Excellent for low-impact, full-body workouts.
- Running on Varied Terrain: Challenges different muscle groups.
Making Workouts Fun for You and Your Dog
Natalie Allport, a snowboarder and CrossFit athlete, swears by the motivation she gets from working out with her dog, Bali. From gym workouts to outdoor activities like skateboarding, Bali’s participation makes each session enjoyable.
Allport’s Favorite Dog-Inclusive Exercises
- Box Jumps and Agility Drills: Great for energetic dogs.
- Squats While Holding Your Dog: Suitable for smaller breeds.
- Outdoor Adventures: Skateboarding, hiking, and paddleboarding keep things exciting.
Turning Playtime into Workout Time
Richie Allen of PetFitness advises integrating play into exercise. Simple games like fetch or tug of war not only provide physical exertion but also enhance the mental well-being of your dog.
Allen’s Go-To Fitness Activities with Dogs
- Interactive Fetch: Adds a cardio element for the owner.
- Doggy Squats and Push-Ups: Strengthens their hind legs and core.
- Regular Playtime: Ensures consistent activity.
Balancing Intensity with Rest
Remember, both you and your dog need rest days. Aim for four to five workout sessions a week, allowing adequate time for recovery and relaxation.
Conclusion: A Year of Health and Happiness
Embarking on a fitness journey with your dog promises a year filled with health, bonding, and a lot of fun. It’s about finding joy in the process and appreciating the journey as much as the results.
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For more insights and expert advice on pet-assisted fitness, visit Newsweek’s original article.