Do you have a dog? Are you considering adding one to your family? One of the best things about dogs is the amazing connection often formed between them and their humans. Not only are dogs wonderful for companionship, home security and simply bringing love into your life, but they can also make fantastic workout buddies as well.

Maybe you’re trying to incorporate more exercise into your life. Whether you’re a newbie or trying to get back on track, or could just use a bit of variety — why not start by including your dog? You might not realize how much you can do together aside from the classic leash walk. Here are four great ways you and your dog can work out together.

Hiking

If you enjoy traditionally walking your dog but are itching to bump things up a notch, start researching hiking trails in your area. Hiking has countless benefits for humans and dogs alike.

While your overall experience will depend on the type of hike you choose, you’ll both undoubtedly enjoy the immersion in nature and variation in terrain. What’s more, hiking will be a real treat for your dog’s sense of smell. Don’t forget about winter hiking; you can easily adapt to it with snowshoes for you and booties for your dog. Paw balm can also be very helpful in protecting your dog’s paws from snow and ice, along with any salt or sand they come in contact with. 

No matter what the level of difficulty and length of your hike, you’ll want to make sure to outfit and fuel both you and your dog appropriately. This will ensure everyone is safe and comfortable, resulting in a successful and can’t-wait-to-go-back type of hike. Always pack water to drink and healthy, energy-filled snacks for both you and your dog to enjoy along the way.

It’s also important to make sure you’re replenishing yourselves afterward; try a post workout stack for yourself and a nutritious, protein-rich treat for your dog. 

Frisbee

When was the last time you played frisbee? If it’s been a while, now’s the perfect time to pick up a disc and head to some wide-open space to play. Your dog will love the thrill of the chase, and you’ll love the cardio benefits of it as well.

Even if it’s just you and your dog playing, you can both get a great workout in. Try throwing the frisbee and running alongside your dog as they fetch. You’ll both thrive on some healthy competition, and you’ll probably be blown away by your dog’s speed. Alternatively, sneak in short bursts of jumping jacks, push-ups or crunches while they’re retrieving.

Swimming

Does your dog love to swim? If so, don’t miss the opportunity to have some fun in the water together. If you’re not sure about your dog’s feelings about water, pick a time to scope things out beforehand. 

While some dogs such as retrievers naturally gravitate toward the water, other dogs might take a bit more encouragement. If you run into resistance at first, don’t give up right away. Check out some tips and tricks to get your dog more comfortable. And remember, just as with humans, water safety for dogs is also important.

You might decide to just swim casually in your favorite lake or turn it into a race against each other. Familiarizing your dog with different words will let them know it’s time to speed things up. Some dogs also love jumping in off the dock, so why not throw out your best cannonball alongside them? 

Cross-Country Skiing

If you live in an area where your winters are snowy, consider adding cross country skiing to your dog-and-human workout routine. 

Cross country skiing is excellent for cardio and building muscle, and the faster pace you’ll gain due to the skis will help you keep up with your dog more so than when you’re on foot. Your dog will love running along next to you or chasing behind if you find any slopes.

If you’re skiing in an area that requires your dog to be leashed, consider a hands-free leash that attaches to your waist. This will help to keep your balance more even while still allowing control of your dog. 

Exercising with your dog is something everyone should try. Dogs typically thrive on physical activity, just as humans do. Finding ways to reap the benefits of it together will strengthen your bond and keep you both healthier as a result.

Which sport will you try first? 


About the Author: Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in CRM and sales. However, during the weekend and in his free time he writes articles on topics that he feels passionate about, pets being one of those passions.