Your dog may not be too concerned about their beach body but they can be a great help in getting you in shape for the summer! Although your dog may seem unconcerned about a few extra pounds you will want to ensure they are maintaining a good weight to avoid future health problems.
So how can you and your dog start to get fit? Well walking is of course a good start. A healthy amount of daily walking per day for a human and many small dog breeds are about the same, though the dog may well burn more calories in that time running back and forth.
It’s recommended adult humans do 2 and a half hours of moderate intensity exercise a week such as walking briskly – that works out at about 22 minutes a day. For a small dog you should aim for 30 minutes walking a day. For larger and very active dogs, and those who prefer a gentle pace, an hour to an hour and a half would be a better length of walk each day, though this could be a morning and evening walk. Longer walks are also a good idea if on your walks you need to keep your dog on a lead for their safety so they can’t roam as much, so it takes longer for them to cover the same distance, though an extendable lead will help.
Longer than 22 minutes will also help you if you want to lose weight and increase your overall fitness but if you want to supercharge your walk you could add in some other activities along the way. This is especially the case for activities such as throwing a ball or playing tug that also works your upper body, giving you an full body workout. Using a tug toy can be surprisingly exhausting even with a small dog! With a Great Dane for company you’ll be lucky to stay on your feet! Our Bionic Tug-n-Toss toy is ideal for throwing or playing tug.
If longer hikes are your thing then your dog can come along as well and by the end you should both be exhausted. Make sure that you and your dog have plenty to eat and drink en route, though there’s no reason why they can‘t carry their supplies with our Backpack for Dogs.
If you want to up the pace and break into a jog or run your dog will probably happily come along too. We have a special jogging lead to make it easier to jog along while keeping your dog under control or a hands free lead that attaches to your waist.
Cycling is great exercise and great fun. If you have a larger and energetic dog then while walking or running you may find their pace is a little too much, after all they have the advantage of a couple of extra legs! To even things up let them run whilst you cycle using our DogRunner – Cycle Mount.
If you love a cycle but you have a smaller dog whose legs can’t keep up you can of course use them as extra weight to make it more of a challenge using one of our dog cycle baskets or cycling trailers for dogs that are great for larger older dogs too.
The NHS also recommend that you do muscle strengthening exercise on two or more days a week. Now you can’t take your dog with you to the gym or use them as a spotter while you do bench presses but one suggested exercise on the NHS site is ‘heavy gardening’. So what if rather than letting your dog out into the garden and leaving them to it, you went with them and starting working on your borders? On a sunny day time can go much quicker gardening than it would at the gym, plus you achieve something at the end and you have your dog roaming around the garden, keeping you company.
Agility training may seem more exercise for your dog than you, but both you and your dog will need to be fast, though your dog will be doing most of the hard work. If it’s your dog’s health you are most concerned about this may be ideal and agility training can become a hobby with plenty of amateur competitions around the country. A good starting point is setting up an agility course in your garden and seeing how you get on, even if your dog is fairly hopeless it’s a lot of fun and something all the family can enjoy!
Information on recommended physical activity from: NHS Choices