What do dogs and people have in common? We both live longer, happier and healthier lives when we work out. So why not exercise together? I recently interviewed Dr. Marty Becker, co-author of FITNESS UNLEASHED!: A Dog and Owners Guide to Loosing Weight and Gaining Health Together, and he offered some useful strategies.
Take breed and personality type into account. Some high-energy dogs, like Dalmations, may be able to handle a jog or bicycle ride; others, like Irish Wolfhounds, may prefer walking a few blocks each day.
Start slow and build up. A rule of thumb is to walk your dog, on a leash, one block or 300 yards per 10 pounds of body weight, twice daily to start. Gradually increase distance and time as you both become fitter; and vary your workout by trying different surfaces, like a grassy field, sandy beach, or a hillside.
Donıt let rainy days stop you. Get you and your dog the proper coats and boots for a walk outdoors; do laps in the shopping mall before stores open; use the stairs in your house.
Donıt let not having a dog stop you either. Simply borrow oneplenty of people in your neighborhood would appreciate a dog walker or exerciser when theyıre too busy.
To reinforce your commitment, weigh you dog and yourself every week or so and see the pounds melt away. Youıll also be encouraged to stick with the program when you find that both you and your dog are calmer, sleep better, have more energy, and are healthier. Itıs a win-win situation.