Exercise can help you manage your weight by improving your blood sugar and reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Regular physical activity also stimulates various brain chemicals that make you feel happier and increases your overall health, weight, and energy. Therefore, enlisting your best buddy (your dog) as your exercise partner might be just what the doctor ordered!

Dogs are excellent motivators because they encourage you to be more active. Studies also show that caring for a pup can actually improve your physical and mental health. Not to mention, exercise can be a lot less work and a lot more fun when you’re doing it with your doggy.

Here are a few fun ideas to liven up your workouts with your dog:

Gradually increase the lengths of your walks: Slowly build your time until you and your dog are walking at least 30 minutes, two times a day. You can easily track your progress with your phone using applications such as Map My Walk and Steps Pedometer & Step Counter Activity Tracker.

Pick up the pace: Invest in a heart rate monitor (like a Fitbit or Apple Watch) and stay at your target heart rate throughout your walk. You can also find a spot to run (or walk) the stairs with your pup to get a boost. But remember, you might not be able to keep it up the entire time so do not get discouraged. It’s about progress NOT perfection!

Strength train at least twice a week: Strength training has been known to improve blood sugar, and guess what, no gym required.

  • Walk up and down hills with your dog to give your legs a good workout and maximize your heart rate.
  • Find a park bench to do 15-20 steps ups, 15-20 push-ups and 15-20 triceps dips. Work your way to three sets.
  • Bring an exercise band on your walk. Stop three times to do 15-20 squats, 12-15 reps of bicep curls and 12-15 reps of triceps curls.

Make it social: Get a group of your friends and their dogs together and hit the trails for a great workout with lots of laughs to be shared along the way.

Plant an organic garden: Gardening is great exercise and you can plant veggies that are helpful in managing your weight like kale, spinach, carrots, broccoli, red onions, red peppers and tomatoes.

Make it a habit. Remember you need to stay active every day which is why rocking it out with your pup makes such perfect sense. Your buddy needs to get his physical activity in too so when you do it as a team it becomes a lifestyle.

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