Springtime Resolution #3: Exercising and Getting in Shape With Your Pet
THE most common resolution we set for ourselves during the year is to exercise and get in shape. We all know why exercise is important - It makes us feel strong! It gets the endorphines in our body flowing, and it can go a long way to building a healthy mind and happier spirit! But maintaining the motivation to exercise regularly can be daunting and most people give up on this resolution after about a month or so (sooner for some of us lazy humans!). This is where an accountability partner can make all the difference. Whether they are 2 or 4 legged, furry or not, partners in physical fitness will help you keep to a schedule and have a great time getting in shape. Here are some great ways to keep active with your pet in the coming months!
Exercising With Your Cat
Don’t try exercising with your cat unless you know for a fact that he enjoys certain activities. Some cats like to walk on leash and some very rare kitties will do yoga with their people (or rather jump on their backs while in the cat-cow positions and rub up against their faces while in downward dog!), but overall, cats don’t want to exercise with you. They want to judge you. So let’s just move on, shall we?
Exercising With Your Dog
People who don’t live in NYC tend to assume that because a dog doesn’t have her own backyard, she doesn’t get enough exercise. But contrary to that thought, the reality is that dogs in NYC very often get MORE exercise than your average suburban and rural pet. We take our dogs out for long walks and/or jogs in the park, with us as we run errands and to the dog run for socialization. We even hire people to come and exercise our dogs while we work! As long as we dog parents are committed to taking our pooches out as often as they need, our city dogs will get lots of activity, and as a result will be in better shape and better socialized. Studies show that dog owners spend about an hour more per week walking and are more likely to get the recommended amount of weekly exercise than those who don’t have a dog. And since many dogs have an energy that is downright enviable, we can use this to our advantage to make sure we are devoting time to our own health and fitness.
Here are some ideas of ways to exercise with your dog:
Whether on the street or in one of the hundreds of parks all over NYC, running is a great activity to do with your dog. Most dogs love to run alongside us, and their energy can be contagious. There are even some open runs throughout the city where dogs on leash are welcome to participate! Just make sure they are wearing a safe, snug harness and be sure to give them time to sniff and do their “potty business” before and after your run.
If you love hiking, there are a lot of dog-friendly trail options around the NYC area where you can go and make a day of being outdoors and getting some fresh, non-city air for both you and your dog. Here is a great resource for finding a trail nearby that is right for you and your dog. Bring Fido also has a great map to check out dog-friendly trails in areas around you.
There are many dog-only beaches to take your pooch to throughout the city where she can frolic with her canine pals. If you are looking for a dog AND human friendly beach where the both of you can take a dip, there are some nearby options like Larchmont Dog Beach in Westchester or Atlantic Beach, just east of the Rockaways. Though it may entail a longer day trip, what’s better than swimming with your pup??
OTHER WATER ACTIVITIES
If you’re lucky enough to be on a lake (or any calm body of water) for a time during the summer, you could try out Paddle Boarding, Kayaking or Canoeing. Though you will be the only one exercising in these situations, having your dog along for the ride will make it that much more enjoyable!
A no-brainer for us NYC folk, since we walk our dogs regularly. But try to motivate yourself and your pup to walk EVEN MORE, maybe by exploring areas you haven’t gone to in the city or by setting up a “play date” with another dog owner who enjoys long romps. The Perfect Pooch NYC will be organizing a few “dog walkin’ yappy hours” in the next few months, so keep a look out for those!
Though not for every dog or person, some dogs really do love to run alongside their owner while they are biking. This is usually for bigger dogs (think Pitbull or an active Lab) who can keep up with the bike and who also have paw pads that are a bit more rugged. It’s important to know what your dog is capable of before you attempt this activity though, so speaking to your vet before you begin is highly recommended!
Looking for a weekend activity for you, your friends and your dogs? Setting up a small (or large!) agility course in the park to run through with your pup is a great idea and you can use found objects such as branches, rocks and natural formations to easily create a fun course.
And if you and your friends want to go one big step further, Flyball is an amazingly fun activity that you can set up for your dogs that will keep you all entertained for hours.
Yes, this is a thing. And while we are not sure of how much exercise you will actually get taking these classes, the entertainment factor will surely make up for the lack of activity. Who knows? Your dog may be a total yogi (or would that be “dogi”?).
Many dogs love soccer so passing around a soccer ball with your pup in the park now and then is a great activity for the two of you! Just be ready for some puncture marks on your soccer ball if you have a big dog!
SNOWSHOEING AND CROSS COUNTRY SKIING
Taking a vacation to a mountain this winter? Plan a day of snowshoeing or cross-country skiing where you can bring your pup along! And if your dog is itty-bitty you can always bring her along in a wearable carrier. Just getting your dogs outside and exploring will motivate you to be more active in your daily routine!
So as we approach summer and the weather is (finally) getting nice in NYC, try some of these activities with your dog to get you both in shape and on your way to a healthier and happier lifestyle!