Turn Walking the Dog Into a Workout With These Simple Tricks
What’s there not to love about dogs? They are loyal to a fault, give the best snuggles and licks, they give the warmest welcome. Don’t get us started on their roll-over stunts and cute tail wiggles. It comes as no surprise that there are so many people who just love dogs. But having a dog comes with its own perks and downsides. Regardless of the many perks, the downsides can be a bit deterring.
Owning a dog comes with unplanned responsibilities; you have to walk it, bathe it, take it to the vet occasionally, and train it not to poop or pee in your couch. While all this might seem easy, it can get overwhelming when coupled with your regular day to day tasks. So what if you could you turn taking care of your dog into a win-win situation for both parties? Interesting right? We are here with nine cool hacks to help you turn walking your dog into a workout session.
As the name denotes, this simply means running very fast with your dog. You can turn your walks with your pup into fast running sessions. To do this, you will need a good pair of running shorts, comfortable running shirts, water and a strong leash so your dog doesn’t run off unattended to. However, this hack is only possible when your dog is naturally a fast runner; for instance, if you own a Greyhound, Vizsla, German Shepherd, Dalmation or Whippet, this first step would be perfect. However, it certainly won’t work with a Shih Tzu or Tibetan Spaniel.
As always, when you do sports or are physically active with your dog, you need to train little by little, dose the effort, and gradually increase the length of the course. You should start with short sessions and gradually increase the distance or intensity of the level, and most importantly, regulate the times of rest limit the risk of injury and avoid overexertion, which could have serious consequences. Your dog would follow you at the end of the world, but it is your responsibility. Recognize when you are tired – or when you notice something strange – and provide the necessary rest before resuming or stopping the march. If you plan to run, it should be an enjoyable activity for your pet, like a game, and you should never force it.
When people play catch with their dogs, they tend to focus on the fun part. However, this is actually a really good workout exercise for both the dog owner and the dog. Dog owners can turn this into a workout routine by appointing a selected time during the walk for playing catch.
Delegating about ten to fifteen minutes each time to play catch during your dog-walks can help you reach your workout goals. Playing catch improves your speed, agility and responsiveness. Running also helps you exercise your legs while the throwing focuses on your shoulders, hands and grip. All in all, it combines to provide you with an amazing workout experience. You can also complete some burpees, squats and jumping jacks before your dog returns with the Frisbee.
Lift Light Weights
Lifting lightweights is a great workout strategy to help you burn fat, increase upper body strength and tone your muscles. There are varied weights you can use for your weight lifting exercises when walking a dog. This includes dumbbells of about 2kg depending on your body size and weight goals. You will also need a hands-free dog leash, some comfortable gym wear and gym sneakers. Due to the strenuous nature of walking and lifting weights, its best to start easy until your body can accommodate the increases. Also, it is advisable to try this workout hack with only one dumbbell so that you can easily shuffle the dumbbell between both hands.
Race Other Dog Walkers
Activities become extra fun when there are competitive twists to it. If you have other dog walker friends in your vicinity why not arrange a racing competition with them? Racing other dog walkers is a sure is one of the best ways to turn walking your dog into a work out session. This trick works when there are about three or more dog owners and dogs. The goals are to determine which dog runs the fastest, which dog and owner have the best correlation and which owner runs the fastest. It is quite similar to fast running with your dog but this involves more participants and is competitive.
To pull this off, you will need the right running apparels and a timer. The timer is responsible for announcing when the race starts and who is adjudged the winner. On the word go, all dogs and dog owners launch into a race with their dogs securely leashed to their waist. The race is more than determining the fastest dog, it’s about which dog runs best undistracted, which owner can match up to the speed of their dogs and generally the relationship between the dog and its owner.
If you are active in sports, then you have probably done squats. Why not do these exercises together with your dog? The only requirement is, your dog has a good basic obedience and knows what he or she should do. Once you’ve taught him the required commands, the workout will be much more fun together!
Squats are best known for toning your lower body, which is building your calves, toning your glutes and legs. Doing regular squats do not require the use of special equipment and can be easily combined with walking your dog to help you meet your workout goals. There are several types of squats, each focusing on a specific muscle type – most of which can be easily carried out while walking your dog.
You can try the sumo squats, body weight squats or goblet squats. As walking your dog already involves some amount of intensive activity, it’s advisable to start small, with as little as 20 squats per walk and increase when you feel comfortable enough to. In as much as the goal is to meet your workout goals while walking your dog, it is very important to not overwork the body as this could lead to several other serious health implications.
Yoga is a form of exercise that involves several stretched poses and stunts that target specific body parts and work to make it more toned. Yoga is also known to calm and rejuvenate the mind. Usually, there are trained professionals who take people through yoga lessons as some of the moves require support and coaching. However, there are several easy-to-try moves that can be done by beginners easily. These easy stunts and poses can be incorporated into dog-walking sessions.
As yoga doesn’t require the use of machines and gym equipment, combining it with dog walks should be a walk in the park. You can halt your walk for five to ten minutes and have a little stretch before continuing again. Again, it is advisable to try moves that are not too strenuous or do not require extra support or assistance. Some recommended poses include the Yoga-downward dog pose, mountain pose, standing forward bend, tree pose or reverse warrior.
Race Your Dog
You have tried fast running with your dog, you have tried racing with other dog owners. Now let us try racing with your own dog. Running is a very good exercise. It is good for the legs, heart and overall body. Most people exercise through running, jogging and brisk-walking.
This workout hack is simple and helps you work out in a fun way while building the bond between you and your dog.
The trick is to train your dog such that it can identify when the race is about to start, for instance by whistling. Both of you race to a point and then come to a halt when you reach the finish line. Hopefully, your dog doesn’t keep running after the finish line, then you have a lot of catching up to do. In most cases, they don’t. Trained dogs pick up queues easily and are able to tell what to do and when to do it.
Practice Hula Hooping
An easy workout hack is to hula hoop while walking your dog. Hula hooping is a form of workout where a hoop is twirled around the neck, waist and legs. Hula hooping involves a lot of twisting and turning and targets areas such as the waist, upper and lower abdomen.
Due to the nature of this workout, it is more convenient to use the standard leash. Using a hands free leash might end up twirling your dog around with the hoop. Hula hooping while working your dog only requires the introduction of a hoop.
Jumping over Obstacles
Obstacles are usually hindrances that prevent easy movement from one place to the next. You and your dog can try jumping obstacles during your walking sessions to up your workout goals. The obstacles can be as short as standing bottles or as high as benches depending on your capacity.
It is advisable to start with short obstacles in order to master your jumps before moving to higher ones. You can also jump with both legs over the obstacles or jump with legs parted for balance.
Bike Riding with Your Dog
Bike riding is a very popular workout that is good for the thighs and lower body parts such as the calves, legs and feet. The bike pedals focus on the feet and the paddling help work out the thighs and legs. It is an easy type of workout which can be incorporated in your day-to-day dog walking sessions.
Because the bicycle accelerates your movement, it is advisable to ride slowly so the exercise is not too tiring for your dog. Your dog can be tired to the front part of the bicycle to prevent the leash from getting into the tyres. All the best and we hope these points will help you reach your workout goals.
Fitness training with your own dog does not always have to consist of jogging or the typical dog sports such as agility. Even during your normal walking rounds, other exercises like ‘dips’ can be incorporated. With this one, both you and your dog can train your legs and arm muscles. Here you either need a fallen tree trunk or a branch. Sit with your back in front of the trunk and grab it with your hands past your buttocks. Bend your arms slightly and keep your back straight. Straighten your legs and place your heels further forward.
Now you push yourself with the arms of the trunk up, the legs remain unplugged. Your dog is now climbing with his front paws on the trunk or the bench. Hold this position, let it down again and give the dog the command to descend.
Alternatively, you can have your dog sit on your legs. Depending on the weight of the dog you increase the level of difficulty for you, but without training effect for your dog. Here you need a tree trunk again. Go to the push-up position with your hands on the tree. Give your dog the command to support himself with his front paws on the tree. Now you are bending your arms, keeping your body taut so that you do not form a hollow cross. Raise up again and give the dog the command to push down from the tree trunk. Your dog may be instructed to lean forward as if sitting, but with his hind legs extended. Alternatively, you can have your dog sit on your back. Depending on the weight of your pup, you can increase the level of difficulty, but without increasing the intensity for your pup.
Before starting any of the above exercises, it is vital that your dog is in good health. You will know that with a physical review by your trusted veterinarian. You have to take into account their age, physical condition to understand if your dog will be able to perform the activity you are planning.