Pet-accompanied workouts probably aren’t the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of fitness. However, they are actually one of the best, easiest, and fun ways to become fit. In this article, we’ll tell you more about why these workouts could actually become the next fitness craze.
We know that exercises are a great contribution to our health. Studies show that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of early death up to 30%. It also reduces the risk of major illnesses, helps us stay more active and positive.
Physical Activity: Expectations vs. Reality
Wikipedia has the following physical fitness definition: is a state of health and well-being, the ability to perform sports, occupations and daily activities. Putting it simply, physical fitness is your ability to carry out daily tasks without experiencing fatigue. Sounds great, isn’t it?
Knowing that it might seem logical that most people would work hard to achieve this condition, to be able to perform daily tasks without getting tired and frustrated easily. In reality, however, that’s not that simple. Many people struggle to find the right fitness motivation: in 2018, 25.6% of US adults were reported as physically inactive. That’s a quarter of the whole population!
That would explain all those fitness trends that emerge these days, wouldn’t it? People do everything to make fitness look diverse and enjoyable. There are even fitness game apps that either entertain you or help you become healthier through gamification.
Staying fit or getting in shape is vital for health, yet it isn’t easy. However, it would become easy if you found the right activity for you.
While we cannot pick such activity instead of you, we can suggest one that would be just as useful as fun: pet fitness. Yes, we’re talking about working out with a pet.
Why You Should Consider Exercising with Pets?
Getting yourself a certain pet might be a great contribution to your health already. According to 2017 study conducted by Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, dog walkers had 20% higher activity levels, compared to people without dogs.
The reasons behind that are obvious: dog owners need to walk their dogs regularly and so spend more time outside being physically active. Dogs are generally active and also prefer sticking to a schedule. Therefore, it would be hard if not impossible to stay in bed late when your good boy wants to go outside.
But it also would be more fun, won’t it? It’s like having a fitness partner who never bails you and actually enjoys the whole workout. Sure, this won’t look anything like Planet Fitness workout routine, but most likely it would be much more enjoyable.
Furthermore, such workouts would prevent your pet from getting fat, which, actually, would be awesome. Even a few extra pounds can be significant, especially when a dog is small. Therefore, weight loss prevention is as crucial for pets as it is for people.
Sure, some people solve this problem by purchasing a pet fitness tracker for their animal companions. For instance, Varram pet fitness, a robot who helps pets stay physically active, is a real blast these days. However, it doesn’t bond with your pet as you can.
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The short answer would be the one that keeps both you and your pet engaged. Just like we’ve said before, a Planet Fitness workout plan might work for you and might be adjusted to body-weight exercises and outdoor training. However, if your pet simply stays by your side and watches how you exercise without being active itself, this might not be the best option for both of you.
Here’s what you can try:
- Long-distance walks: The most obvious yet probably the less interesting activity. However, it is a great choice for people who try to switch from a sedentary lifestyle to being more active without over exhausting themselves right from the start. If you decide to start walking with your pet a bit longer, consider purchasing a fitness tracker to track distance and your progress.
- Running: Interval walk-run routine, fun races that welcome pet participation, or hiking could be fun both for you and your dog.
- Obstacle courses or agility courses are a great way for you to be more active and for your pet to prepare for the upcoming contests.
- Outdoor sports that would keep your pet engaged: kayaking, rollerblading, cycling, trail running etc.
- Ordinary exercises: just like we’ve mentioned above, it won’t keep your pet active, but it’s still a good and fun way for you to work out in a great company. Just make sure that a gym or a fitness center (if you prefer Retro Fitness to local gyms) you plan on attending is pet-friendly.
While most of these workouts won’t make you look like a character of bodybuilding and fitness game, they will definitely help both you and your pet become more active and healthier as the result. However, you need to make sure that such exercises will boost your and your pet’s health, not worsen it.
How can you ensure that? By sticking to the tips we offer below.
Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Pet-Accompanied Workouts
It’s important to notice that both you and your pet need to see a physician before starting to exercise together. Things like general physical condition as well as the condition of lungs, joints, heart, and age aren’t easy to evaluate without a proper medical examination. However, they could still put some limitations on yours or your pet’s exercise process.
Here are other useful tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure that you start your workouts slowly and don’t skip a warm-up. This will help you prevent strains and injuries.
- Pick the right time of the day — for instance, early hours in summer. This way you and your pet will avoid a heat stroke.
- Start with the exercises your pet can definitely tolerate at the moment. Be careful not to overload it with heavy training right from the start.
- Check your own exercise speed if it’s running or cycling we’re talking about. You need to make sure that your pet keeps up with you without over-exhausting itself.
- Stay aware of your surroundings to keep you and your pet safe.
- Don’t forget to use safety equipment if a workout requires one; do the same for your pet.
- Always carry a bottle of water to keep you and your pet hydrated.
- Watch your pet and be sure to stop or adjust a workout if a pet shows some signs of injury, dehydration or fatigue.
- Adjust the workouts and make them longer or more intensive with time.
- Pick workouts that suit your pet the best: for instance, pugs and french bulldogs require light to moderate cardio workouts while more active breeds require more intense ones.
Don’t forget: paying attention to your pet’s behavior and learning about its needs and workout specifics is a key here. Such workouts might not teach you how to become a fitness model or to build your dream body quickly. However, they will teach you how to take better care of your pet and actually enjoy the exercise process, which is much more valuable.
They say the best way to build a habit is to start with baby steps. Small, enjoyable workouts accompanied by your beloved pet would make a great first baby step in your fitness journey. So why don’t you try them out?
Do you enjoy the idea of dog-accompanied workouts? Or maybe you’ve been doing them for a while already? Please share your thoughts, stories and opinions in the comments below.
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