Benefits of Exercising with Your Pets

There’s never really an easy solution to keeping yourself healthy. It can involve everything, from exercise to dieting. Same goes with your pup — There’s always some sort of supplement or special diet your furry friend needs. Walking your pup may seem like a chore, but there’s actually a lot of benefits gained by walking around, both which apply for you and your pup! 

Walking and Running

Running with your dog regularly can improve your health tremendously

The easiest way to get some exercise is  by bringing you and your pup out for a walk! This is a relatively simple act, whether you live in the city or in the country. Depending on where you live, you could even go to places like national parks to get some sight seeing and exercise in! Here are some good reasons why you and your pup should go for a walk:

Physical Benefits:

Studies show that in humans and other animals, simply walking for 20 minutes each day can result in you and your pup’s chances of heart attacks or strokes being reduced by 8 percent. Increasing that amount to 40 minutes doubles that reduction to 16 percent. As an addition to this, frequent walking results in overall lowered cholesterol.

Running and walking with your pup can also easily ward off obesity, especially with daily exercise. Walking 20 minutes a day is a simple way to keep you and your pup healthy and safe from complications of obesity, such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. This is a simple action, but every little bit helps when keeping you and your pup healthy!

Walking actually helps with joint problems as well, especially if you start young! By building muscles, you actually relieve pressure off from your joints, letting them endure more in the long run. For humans, every pound you lose, you actually reduce up to four times the pressure of your joints! If your pup is prone to joint problems, walking will help them once they start getting older. For the first 3 years of life, puppies actually need to walk! By walking, they develop certain shoulder muscles that will help them as they grow older.

Any cardio exercise can easily strengthen your lungs. By pushing yourself, your lungs can gradually learn to accept more oxygen, and overall better your circulation. If you happen to have a chronic illness or disability, walking can easily help strengthen your circulation system, or your pup’s! If your puppy’s breed is known for having lung problems, walking can help avoid those pesky old-dog problems!

If your pup is a barker, consider bringing him along for a walk! This will actually help him get used to new people and distractions, causing him to bark less at other things. If your furry friend tends to bark at people walking by your house, coming back from a walk may actually tire him out enough where he won’t bother to bark at people walking about! Barking can be a nuisance when your pup is young, but walking is a rather simple solution to this problem! 

Mental Benefits

Walking can easily boost your mood, including your pup! In fact, any exercise helps you and your pup release endorphins, which is a mood boosting hormone. These hormones also help you go to bed much easier at night. Your pup will also be able to sleep easier at night, especially if they’re the type to have a strange sleeping schedule.

Obstacle Courses

If walking isn’t your cup of tea, consider running agility with your pup! This exercise may not be available everywhere, but if you do have a local center, it’s always fun to try to teach your pup how to run through agility courses!

Mental Benefits

Agility is more than just an exercise — it helps train both you and your pup’s mind! For you, you’ll have to learn how to get your pup to get through the course. It can be tricky, if your pup tends to be a little rowdy. By going through agility courses, you can learn what makes your pup more willing to go through the equipment and perform! You will gain critical thinking skills, just by solving problems in the course.

For your pup, they will learn self-control, and learn to listen! By going through the course, your pup will learn to be more well behaved, as well as learn to listen, even off their leash. By doing agility training, your pup will learn how to ignore distractions, retrieve certain items, and learn both physical and verbal cues.

Overall, running agility courses is a 2-in-1 deal! Not only would the running keep your endorphins up, you actually get a lot of training for your pup too. Agility courses will overall teach your pup how to behave, especially if you start young! 

Physical Benefits 

Obstacle courses carry similar benefits to walking and running- it exercises various muscle groups, and reduces the chances of heart ailments. The frequent movement builds muscles at a much higher rate than walking, taking further pressure off the joints, and building your pup’s physical strength to further heights. If your pup is prone to heath problems later in life, such as joint problems and heart complications, running agility courses can alleviate some of these illnesses. 

Doggie Yoga

If both of the mainstream dog exercises aren’t for you, consider doggie yoga! This popular exercise may seem silly, but it has a lot of benefits for both you and your pup. Dog yoga, unlike regular yoga, was specifically created to help you bond with your pup. The idea is to help your pup bend into similar yoga positions, like a downward facing dog. While it may not do as much for your pup as the other exercises, yoga is a wonderful activity to help you bond with your pup! 

Physical Benefits

Yoga has a lot of benefits, despite being an in-place exercise. Perhaps best of all, you can do yoga anywhere, at home or at a studio! Yoga can help with physical attributes, such as flexibility, better muscles, a better respiratory system, or even help with metabolism! Yoga is also known to help with heart problems, especially if you have any.

Mental Benefits

By teaching your pup how to get into new positions actually count as tricks! Much like agility courses, dog yoga helps your pup learn how to be more well behaved, and overall can lessen their troublemaking tendencies. Not only that, by doing yoga with your pup, he may learn to let you and strangers touch his body more! Your pup will run through your yoga stretches with you, and bond with you!

Just like other exercises, yoga can release endorphins. Doing yoga can fight depression, as well as help you sleep better as well!

Most of all, spending time with your best friend increases your bond with them! These simple exercises are not only good for your health, but also for building your friendship with your friend. While this only covers a small number of exercises, there are certainly several different ways to help you and your pup get some exercise!

“If your dog is fat, you need more exercise.”

– Unknown
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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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