Published May 11, 2011
If you're tired of hitting the gym for your regular (read: dull) workout routine, we have something that will transform your usual workouts and get you in the best shape ever. Recent research published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health suggests that dog owners are far more likely to perform daily physical activity than non-dog owners; in fact, the chances that they will get at least 150 minutes of activity per week goes up by 34 percent.
This is a great discovery for those who want to promote overall health and wellness, but what about those of you who want to kick things up a notch and really take your fitness and strength to a new level? And what can you do to build more interest than just a regular walk in the park?
If you want to take your fitness to the next level (and get your pet involved), these 10 man-and-dog workouts may be just the thing.
If there's one thing that every dog loves to do, it's play catch. Grab a Frisbee and head outdoors. Pass it over to your dog and then run with him as he goes to retrieve it. Once it's back in your hand, throw it another 20 to 30 feet away and both of you can begin chasing after it again.
Want a real cardiovascular challenge? Try and beat your dog at a run. Most dogs are incredibly competitive by nature, so if you start running beside yours, you can be guaranteed that he'll be speeding up to challenge you on. This makes for a great man-and-dog workout.
When you first take a dog out into the water, he may be slightly timid, but give it a few hours, and he'll be a swimming champ in no time. Jumping into the water yourself and going for a swim in the lake on a hot summer's day is the perfect way to spend some time with your dog, stay in shape and enjoy the heat all at once.
If you're a man who loves to go camping, taking your dog for a hike will be one of your favorite ways to spend an afternoon. Hiking is a great cardiovascular workout routine and will really challenge the glute, hamstring and quad muscles. Find a hilly path in your area, pack some high-energy snacks, and head out for three or four hours. An afternoon spent hiking is an easy way to burn off well over 1,000 calories and will help you get lean quickly. Pretty good for a man-and-dog workout, right?
If your dog is in a playful mood and is a larger, heavier breed, then a game of tug-of-war is another way to get in some activity (and have more fun) than a simple walk around the block. Get a rope of medium length and pass one end over to your dog. He'll instantly know what to do with it (that's the great thing about manly dogs).
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Another great outdoor summertime activity with which to challenge your cardiovascular level is rollerblading. Rollerblading is comparable in calorie burn and intensity to running when performed at a higher speed. Thus, this can easily replace any of your regular running cardio sessions. Having your dog run alongside you as you rollerblade will make it more fun.
During the colder winter months, get out and go snowshoeing with your dog. Most dogs love playing in the snow, and the added resistance it'll provide you with will make for a terrific leg-strengthening cardio workout. Snowshoeing is one of the most intense forms of activities you can do, so if you put in a good effort, it'll easily take your fitness up a notch.
Another great man-and-dog workout for when you're both in a playful mood is wrestling. This will really get your heart rate up and work all the main muscles in the body. Most dogs will get great enjoyment from a good wrestling session with their owner, and with you constantly twisting and turning as you try and keep him down to the ground, you'll be getting a fantastic core and upper body workout as well.
Another outdoor cardio activity that you will enjoy with your dog is biking. If you bike at a faster speed, your dog will run alongside you at a much speedier pace than he normally would when you're running, so this is ideal way to get him into shape quickly.
A man-and-dog workout that is perfect for burning winter fat is cross-country skiing. Cross-country skiing is going to target your legs, arms and core, while also increasing your cardiovascular endurance. Your dog will benefit right along with you from the extra resistance of running in the snow.
So the next time your dog comes to you with his leash in hand begging for a walk, save yourself a trip to the gym and do one of these activities instead.