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Better than a Gym Membership: What Energetic Dogs Do to Motivate You to Exercise More


“Take me for a walk, instead.”

Those appeared to be the thoughts of my beagle when he sat down in front of my Health Walker Plus machine.

He refused to leave. I could not use the walker. If I did, the steps on it would bump into him. So I chose to get off of it for his safety.  

After numerous occasions of Rocky repeating this behavior I realized I needed to change my exercise routine. I had to get outdoors more with Rocky.

Fast forward 12 years – and although I still have my walking machine – Rocky has continually shown me outdoor walks is more fun. It’s more rewarding too. I mean, just look at this smile:

Rocky_SmileIf you’re looking for more motivation to stay fit, choosing an energetic dog breed such as the Siberian Husky, Dalmatian, Border Collie, or Australian Shepherd – will certainly get you outdoors more.

If you don’t head outside? Well, skipping exercise may result in your dog getting into mischief.

Take Rocky. Earlier this week, we missed some walk time, and Rocky expressed himself loud and clear. How? He tore open his dog bed and pulled out most of the fluff. Evidence of fluff was spread throughout several floors in our home.

I understood why he did it. He reminded me exercise was needed.

But without a doggy’s reminder – think of how easy it is to make excuses and skip exercise for ourselves – even though it’s good for us… and even if monthly gym fees deplete our bank accounts. “I’m too tired. It’s been a long day. I’ve got too much work to catch up on. Maybe tomorrow.” Those are a few examples of excuses people make, myself included.

But when you have a doggy in your home – there’s no time for excuses. If you want a better behaved dog, walks are an essential part of daily life.

Beyond good behavior, when you go on walks for your pet, you’re also preventing obesity in your dog. A dog that packs on excess weight, and doesn’t trim down before reaching midlife, is at risk for numerous health issues including premature arthritis, back problems, heart and respiratory disease.

So you see, by taking care of your dog and getting in walks – you’re giving your dog a chance to live healthier and longer – but you’re also taking care of yourself, too.

As I’ve journeyed along, I’ve learned two ways to burn more calories when I go on doggy walks. If you’re interested in shedding a few pounds, plus building more strength and endurance while walking your dog, you may find these helpful:

Burn_More_Calories1.) Wear a weighted vest. My vest is 10 pounds. The weight is distributed evenly throughout the vest. I do feel it heavy on me. But that’s okay because the extra weight is designed to work the body harder. It helps to build more muscle and burn more fat. I don’t use my weighted vest all the time. But when I do, it doesn’t take long for me to feel the “work out” in effect.

2.) Wear wrist weights. These are weights that strap around your wrist. They add resistance to your arms, helping to build upper body muscles and strength. I like them because I can move my arms freely and still hold on to our dog’s leashes.

Of course, before you try any new exercise gear, be sure to consult your doctor. I simply have found these two fitness items very helpful in my own journey to stay fit. I’m certainly not the slimmest person in the world. But I do think doggy walks and these additional exercise accessories keep me healthy.

I hope what I’ve shared can help you and your doggy stay healthy, too.

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Catherine Cairns-OKeefe

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