3 Ways Your Dog Can Help You Get Fit

By: Alicia Sexauer

Our four-footed friends are more than morning doggie breath, afternoon kisses, and blissful evening snores. Your pup is not only an exceptional companion, they are an amazing motivator for getting out and living an active, healthy life.

Check out these ways your dog can help keep you fit.

1. Alarm clock

As most pet owners know, there is no sleeping in with pets, especially for dog owners! Every morning at approximately 5:30, we have an adorable trio of pups barraging us with kisses, morning breath, and heavy plops onto us to get us up and going. Rarely, can I tell them to go back to bed, pull the blankets back over my head, and go back to sleep. When they are up and ready to go nothing will deter them from their focus of getting me out of bed, into some yoga pants, and out the door.

2. Exercise Buddies

Pepita & Kashew, STLC3 dog-walking pups enjoying a walk Photo by: Eric Eldred, STLC3 Pet Services Manager

Jogging, hiking, swimming, playing fetch, and even rollerblading are all fantastic ideas for activities to do with your dog. If you and your pup are new to the exercise train, start simply with a nice walk around the neighborhood or a local park. Dogs are in their natural environment when they are outside taking opportunities to stretch legs and explore surroundings. Outside is the perfect place to play, sniff intoxicating scents, and of course, go to the bathroom. Rain or shine, your pup needs to go out and they will make sure you know it.  Whatever size your pooch, they benefit from frequent walks, their exercise aids your exercise goals. If they go for a walk, then so do you.

3. Using Those Muscles
As a dog owner you will find yourself often doing tasks such as holding, pulling, bracing, picking up, and chasing. To 99% of dogs, walking means pooping, each time your pup stops to make a deposit it’s your job as the human with hands to clean up after them; make this menial task into an exercise!

Small dogs are genius at adding additional weight to your walk, allowing you to burn more calories. Just walk until your dog is ready to be held; scoop him up in your arms, turn around, and walk home. Little dogs are great unintentional trainers and will take every opportunity to help you reach your fitness goal faster.

The more your coach and you go out together, the stronger you both will become, remind yourself how great your Fitbit “steps taken” chart is going to look.

Walking with your pet can also be a workout for your brain!. Distractions such a cyclist, kids playing outside, other dogs, or an outdoor cat — all, and more, require you to pay attention, analyze, and react.

Gilbert, a STLC3 dog-walking pup getting out and about!
Photo by: Eric Eldred, STLC3 Pet Services Manager

The great news is that your dog will keep you active all year round. Motivation to get out and exercise comes easier when you have a eager four-legged partner ready with the leash in their mouth. After a few weeks of this ongoing fitness routine, your friends will be asking what you have done to look so good and who they can call to get similar results. Just point them to their nearest shelter. Their own personal live-in trainer is waiting for them.