Get in shape for summer with your best friend

Summer’s here, and there’s no better time to start getting outside and getting in shape.

So how do you stay in shape, work hard and find time for your furry friend?

The great thing is you don’t have to choose, with our help you can have it all. Quality time and better health are yours for the taking, running, moving or whatever you decide works best for you.

We’ve put a list of some of the most common ways you can get fit with your four-legged friend, and a few ‘more out there’ ideas. Enjoy.

Carefully Does It

So before we get to the list a quick word of caution: be careful out there. We’re sure you always would be, but it would be irresponsible of us not also to say so too when suggesting these activities. We’re not saying don’t try these things, quite the reverse, it’s simply a gentle nudge to ensure you and your dog don’t over do it, that you take everything into consideration (Hot days, hydration, etc.) and that you are always both safe. Lecture over.

1. Dog Walking

You’re walking your dog every day already. Walking is an excellent basis for each other’s fitness, so never stop. But could you take it a little further?

Could you walk a bit farther? Could you walk a bit faster? Is there a more challenging route? Try changing things up, it can make your walk more healthy and more fun for you both. Walking is great exercise so keep enjoying it.

2. Dog Running

If you’re already walking, why not be running? This can take a little more time to get into, building up distances gradually and so on. But for those willing to put in the work, the rewards are enormous.

Running is a fantastic cardio workout for you and your furry four-legged running partner. As with any exercise, it’s important to bear in mind you and your dog’s capabilities. Like people, some dogs are better runners than others. So before you sign up for that marathon take it slowly and find out what you’re both capable of.

3. Dog Hiking

Running not your thing? What about extreme walking, or hiking to me and you? Hiking is a great way to go exploring and see new places and also get you and your dog in shape.

Hiking is also extremely adaptable to individual capabilities, some will hike up Snowdon, but if heights aren’t your thing you can stay firmly on the lower-ground. The UK has some truly spectacular outdoors to get lost in no matter which end of the country you find yourself.

4. Dog Yoga (Doga – yes, it’s a real thing)

These days you and dog can try everything from dog-friendly Yoga (Doga, yes it really is called Doga) to

5. Woof Mudder

Ever done an obstacle course race and thought “wow, my dog would love that? No? Well someone did. Look out for dog agility training courses you can run together.

6. Skijor (Dog Assisted Skiing)

You can even get your bags packed and try something like Skijor (dog assisted skiing) If you want a challenge for you and your dog, there’s a world of activities out there.

7. Fetch & Chase

Don’t merely throw the ball or stick, get in on the action. Throw it and see who gets there first. Chasing is a great cardio workout, brilliant for building energy levels, raising heartbeats and getting a ‘proper sweat-on’. It’s also more fun and will help build your special bond even further.

8. Tug O’ War

Tug o’ war is perfect for those not so perfect summer days. It’s fun, simple and is equally enjoyable indoors or out. All you need is a rope and a willing partner. Tug o’ war is a brilliant resistance exercise for you and your pooch to play anywhere, anytime.

9. Stairmaster & Wall Sit

Need inspiration for those wetter than hoped for days? Why not make the most of what you have around you. Whether you have stairs in your home or up to it, you can use them.

Stairs can make for an extremely tough and playful workout for you both. Add in a ball for chasing and you have yourself a serious workout.

No stairs? No problem, just use the walls you’re stuck inside of. This one’s more a workout for you and an obedience training tool for your dog. With your back against the wall get into a seated position while having your best friend sat in front of you waiting for their treat. Who will crack first?

10. Swimming

Swimming is a little bit more tricky to arrange as your local council pool might not let you both don your costumes and dive straight in. However, for the more resourceful and adventurous out there, this can be a great way to spend your time together.

Dog’s love a paddle, and if you have somewhere you can go together you should really give it a try. Swimming’s an incredible full body workout, but also a refreshing and revitalising way to spend time outdoors. It’s not something most people do every day, but maybe it should be.

Take the Lead

Whether your choice of activity involves one of the above or something else it doesn’t matter, the most important thing is spending more active time together.

So maybe it’s time to let your best friend lead for a change. When out and about what activities do they most enjoy? Knowing and using this can help you build your own enjoyable and exciting way to spend time together and stay more active.

Now it’s your turn to put down your phone, get up off the sofa, grab your best friend and get out there and give it a go. Have fun.

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