Get Fit With Fido: Exhilarating Workouts For You And Your Dog
If you resolve to get fitter this year, to spend less time on the couch, and more time enjoying yourself, why not bring your dog along? Dogs make great workout partners. They’re happy to come along, and they don’t judge you in your spandex workout clothes. Your dog thinks you are awesome, no matter how much muffin top your spandex squeezes out! It’s time to kick butt, grab the leash and get outside. Here is my list of top calories burning exercises you can do with your dog throughout the year:
Skijor: This one is at the top of my list! All you need is a little bit of balance, a willing dog over 30 pounds, a pair of skis, a harness a gang line and a hip belt. Hit the winter trails in style with your dog leading the way. Basically, skijoring is cross country skiing with your dog – he adds some pull, and helps set the pace, while you burn up the calories following your dog. A great winter workout that is sure to work up a sweat.
Cani Cross: No snow? No problem! Then cani cross is the way to go. Any size dog who enjoys a good run will enjoy cani cross, which is a run with your dog joining in on the fun. Your dog runs ahead of you, on a 6 to 8 foot bungee leash. Dogs participating in cani cross wear a properly fitting, padded harness to keep them comfortable. This is a hands-free activity, so your dog is attached to your waist, via a cani cross belt. Work your way up slowly to longer distances, and avoid running in the hottest parts of the day.
Kick Sled: Great for working abs, butts and thighs, kick sledding is dog sledding’s little brother. It’s an excellent calorie burning workout, in which human and canine assist each other in traversing snow covered trails. Dogs need a proper harness, intended for weight pulling or kick sledding for this activity. You’ll need to wear sturdy, warm boots so you can help kick and run.
Snowshoe: Another great way to work your abs, butts and thighs. Snowshoeing will have you working up a sweat and feeling sore in muscles you didn’t even know existed. Don’t forget to add in a pair of poles for the ultimate total body workout. You can break trail for your dog by taking the lead, and come home even more tired. You’ll need a hand’s free leash for this workout as well.
Hike: Dogs are made for hiking. Find a few local dog-friendly trails and head out there for the day. Local National, State and Provincial parks will have detailed maps online, so you can pick the perfect route for your fitness goals. Check the weather before you go, and bring the right supplies for you and the dog. Please respect other trail users and keep your dog on a leash.
Bike: Biking with your dog gives you a few options. You can take up the sport of bikejoring, similar to skijoring, where your dog and you work as a team to fly down the trails. Take some lessons and do your research before you decide to bikejor, because it can be a dangerous sport. For those of you who feel more comfortable to life live in the slow lane (and perhaps a little longer), there are a number of products you can attach to the side of your bike as a safe dog leash, and the two of you can go exploring! Remember, that the bike gives you a mechanical advantage, so your dog has to work harder than you are. Go easy and pay close attention to your dog.
Paddle: Padding your way to fitness gives you a few different options. You can bring your pup on a SUP! Stand-up Paddle Boarding is a total body workout, kind of a cross between Yoga and canoeing. It’s a cool way to explore the waterway while keeping your core engaged. Kayaks and canoes are also a great way to get some explore and exercise at the same time. Adding a dog to your vessel, increases the weight, and the workout factor for you! To enjoy these sports, you can easily rent lake- or river-worthy vessel. From there, all you need is a bit of balance, and a lifejacket for each of you. Pups who do best in a canoe, kayak or SUP love to swim, and have their basic obedience down pat.
Know Before You Go
If plan to make your dog be your workout partner, get him a check-up with his vet before you start too heavily into the exercise routine. A good warm-up and stretch session will help you both avoid injuries. Always tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to be back. Use the proper gear, stay safe… and get working on your six-pack abs!
Kevin Roberts lives for adventure. Together with his pack of rescue dogs and his husband, he spends as much time outdoors as possible. Kevin lives by the motto: "Get outside and play with your dogs!
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