Running With Your Dog: Fitness For You and Your Dog

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Running With Your Dog: Fitness For You and Your Dog

Running with your dog is a great way to bond and exercise with your adorable furry friend. Read below to learn about all the health benefits that daily exercise can have on both you and your dog.

My dogs love running. If it was up to them running is all they would do. My Schweenie, Ella, is one of the fastest dogs I have seen, and she is only about a foot tall. I have run my dogs through the woods behind my house, across the neighborhood, and at the local park. Still, every time I tell them it is time to head back home they get sad and I basically have to drag them the rest of the way. Running with your dog is a great way to stay in shape and
if you have dogs like mine then you will want to pay close attention to this article 🙂

We all want to be healthy and fit and we all want to make our dogs happy. Why not kill two birds with one stone and start exercising with your dog? Every dog and human can benefit from exercise. You would be surprised at how little exercise it takes to live a healthy lifestyle.

Before you start, however, make sure you understand that different breeds have different exercise needs. For instance, your Yorkie might need a five-minute walk before becoming exhausted, while an Irish Setter, might not know when to stop. I wrote a list of some of the smartest, most active dogs here, so you can understand how much exercise and stimulation dogs need. It is important, also, to make sure not to run your dog on rough concrete or gravel as these surfaces can cause your dog’s paws to become sore or even bruised.

Running with your dog can provide you with many health benefits, including higher metabolism, reduced chance of heart attack, and reduced chance of breast cancer in women.  If all these factors aren’t enough to convince you to have a good jog once a day with your pup maybe you need more convincing.
Here are just a few ways running is beneficial:

Helps fight depression

If you are feeling particularly sad running is probably the last thing on your mind, but should it be? According to researchers, running helps fight depression by releasing the hormones that make us feel happy. I am not saying this is a cure for clinical depression, but it can be a powerful weapon you can use to fight it.
It may be tough to find the energy to get up and start running but you are in luck! You have a dog to encourage you. Most dogs are just balls of energy that will explode if they are cooped up too long. This is where you come in. Taking your dog out for a run will help you be happier because of endorphins released from exercise, but also from seeing how happy you are making your dog by taking him for a run.

Relieves stress

Bad work day? Feeling tense? Go for a run! Running helps you forget about your stresses by making your whole body focus on one activity. Running also helps to stretch some of the muscles you rarely use in everyday life. If you work at a desk all day then you can benefit a whole lot from a good stretch. What’s better for relieving stress than a nice stretch and a mindless activity? Running has also been shown to reduce headaches caused by stress.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed all I have to do is look over at my dogs and they make me feel like everything will be okay. If you feel the same way, why not combine the stress relief of running with the stress relief of your dog. Believe it or not, dogs get stressed too. You may see this when they are nudging you every five minutes as if they want to go outside even though you let them out just 10-minutes ago.
Even a quick 20-minute run can do wonders for you and your pooch, so think about running with your dog to calm you both down.

Prevents heart disease

High blood pressure and cholesterol are both huge factors when it comes to heart disease. As luck would have it, both blood pressure and cholesterol are lowered with regular exercise. (Believe me, that box of cheerios will only help so much.)  Exercise strengthens the heart by making it pump faster. Remember, the heart is a muscle, and all muscles need to be exercised.
You may not even know if you are at risk for heart disease as it can be a hereditary condition. Make sure you get your blood pressure checked at the doctor, and follow any instructions they give you to help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Increased metabolism

We all want to lose weight and we all want to eat tasty food. So what is the solution? Exercise. Studies show that running for 15-30 minutes a day will increase your overall metabolism. What does this mean? An increased metabolism helps you digest food faster so you can turn it into more energy. It is almost like your body’s way of rewarding you for exercising.
The best way to take advantage of a quick boost to your metabolism is either right before or after a meal. In fact, if you exercise before eating you are likely to eat less! Are you putting your pup on a diet? Same goes for him. Canine exercise results in fewer health complications and a better digestive system.

Burn fat

All those other benefits sound nice, but it is hard to see the results of a lowered chance of heart disease. Fat/calorie burning is something you can actually measure, and weight loss is something you can see. There is no better feeling than stepping on the scale and finding out that you lost five pounds. This isn’t even to mention the one-two punch of exercise and dieting combined.
So where does your dog come in? Studies show that around 52% of dogs in America are obese. That is a staggering number and one you can help fix. By exercising your dog you are making sure he lives a long, healthy life with you by his side.

Here are some other ways you and your dog can exercise together:

Hiking

running with your dog, dog hiking

Who doesn’t love a beautiful stroll through the woods? The beautiful sights, the smell of the crumbling leaves in the fall, and your dog peeing on every single tree you pass. Running with your dog is great, but nothing beats the low impact, high fun, exercise of taking a scenic walk through the woods. Bringing your dog along with you can help you make sure to keep pressing forward, as dogs love to explore. Watch out, though, the woods are squirrel territory, so prepare for some barking. Hiking is a more peaceful alternative to running with your dog but it can burn just as many calories.

Swimming

running with your dog, dog swimming

If you have a dog who loves the water, swimming is the perfect exercise for you both! Swimming is a great workout, considering it uses all parts of the body. Swimming has been shown to reduce the effects of arthritis, help those with breathing problems, and reduce inflammation. It is is also a great exercise for dogs with joint problems, as it is very low impact. Be sure to always keep an eye on your dog when he is swimming. The doggy paddle will only get him so far.

Biking

running with your dog, dog bike

For the more extreme owners and the fastest dogs, I recommend biking. It takes a bit of training, but once you get going, you and your canine pal will be having a blast blazing down trails. This exercise is high impact on dogs, so if your dog has any joint related issues I would advise against biking as an appropriate exercise. Running with your dog can be great but riding with your dog can be a blast!


Hopefully, you and your dog learned from and were helped by this article. Have any other training methods you would like to share? Drop a comment below. Want to learn more about how to train your dog? Check out my free Ebook; Dogs 101: The Owner’s Handbook by signing up for ThePawsHub Email list!