From the outside, fitness and furry friends don’t mix. Imagine trying to do your lunges with a wet dog tongue in your face every five seconds! It’s not exactly the most productive way to spend your exercise time.
Yet, if you’re struggling to find the time for fitness right now, there’s a chance your routine could benefit from a four-legged addition. Seriously! While it might seem like a nightmare, animals can add untold vigour to our fitness regimes.
Okay, you might not be able to lunge, squat, or settle into a downward dog without an unwanted tongue in the face, but with a few tweaks, this could be the fitness fix you’ve been looking for. And, we’re going to consider four undeniable reasons why that’s the case.
# 1 – Motivation
Whether you’re starting your fitness journey or consider yourself a pro, getting motivated to stay fit is never easy. It’s always tempting to let routines slip or conveniently ‘forget’ you intended to workout until it’s too late. Hence why, for most of us, a host of different motivational techniques become a standard feature in our efforts.
In some instances, these can be as simple as rewarding ourselves with something at the end of a session. In most cases, though, motivation that works almost always revolves around other people. Things like group exercise or just pairing up with a buddy certainly deny us the opportunity to ‘not bother’ whenever we don’t feel like it. And, in some ways, working out with your dog can achieve the same goal.
After all, your pooch doesn’t care how dreary it is outside, or how long your day has been. They’re still going to want a brisk walk at the end of it. And, they’ll surely let you know as much until you give in and just take them already.
This pressure, in itself, could be the ideal thing to kickstart you into moving at last. If you’re already taking the dog out, you might as well run around the block instead of walking, right?
# 2 – Structure
As much as we need the motivation to get the most from our workouts, we also need structure. This is, after all, the thing that ensures we turn up and do the thing. Structuring our workouts themselves can also help us to stay on track and pushing through once we begin to feel that burn. All around, it’s pretty important stuff, and our dogs are fantastic at helping us to implement it.
After all, dogs are creatures of real habit, and they get to know what should happen when. If you typically take them for a walk/run at the same time each day, you can bet they’ll be there and waiting, even if you want a morning off!
Equally, delving deeper into what you intend to do with your pooch can bring the structured sessions you need to push yourself forward. Running is, of course, an obvious option, but it’s not the only choice in your furry fitness pursuits. Something like the Actionball Football available from Time for Paws could see you fitting in a whole football game with your furry contender. Or, you might prefer to get stuck into dog agility, which can surprisingly provide a full-body workout if used right.
Like any of the best gym equipment going, these pooch products can provide you with the tools you need to structure the best workouts. And, your dog will probably get plenty of joy out of them, too.
Fitness can feel pretty lonely at times. In some ways, this is a good thing. After all, when you’re pumping away on those weights, it can help to get into that personal motivation zone. But, at other times, the lonely nature of workouts can, in themselves, prevent us from spending the time that we should. If you’ve already spent the large part of the day alone, you certainly won’t want to head into the home gym as soon as everyone else gets home.
There are, of course, all manner of ways around this issue. You could sign up for classes, or get the family involved. Sadly, these can take money and effort that you don’t have. Plus, they’re dependent on other people agreeing to give fitness a go!
With a dog, you don’t need any such approval. Whether you workout with them or just keep them close, your four-legged friend won’t have any choice. Cruel, we know, but it does mean that you get the fitness perks without the unmotivating addition of loneliness. Even better, your dog doesn’t care what you look like. They certainly won’t judge you the way other people at a local gym might! And, that can encourage you to push yourself without inhibitions!
At the very least, a four-legged workout friend can provide you with entertainment as you get down to what isn’t always a fun task. This is crucial considering that, too, often, we treat fitness as a pretty serious game. But, let’s be honest; you’re guaranteed to do it better if you have fun in the process.
Dogs are great for this, as even just running them with them in the park can put a smile on your face. You may also find that kicking a ball about with your dog sees you laughing and getting more involved than even your most serious weight lifting challenges. Why? Because dogs love this kind of thing, and their enthusiasm can be contagious. More so even than a workout companion (who can get as flustered as you,) your dog will bring a much-needed touch of fun to your every fitness session. And that, in itself, could make all the difference in the long-run.
Even if you’ve never considered it before, take your pooch along for your next fitness session. Strange as it may seem from the outside, this really can bring your efforts up a gear or two. And, trust us; your furry friend will love this fitness hit, too.