These are all the reasons working out with your dog is good for you

Anyone who lives with a dog knows you need to go out together several times a day. Exercising with your dogs is great for them, and will also improve your fitness.

Can exercising with dogs be good for you? (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Can exercising with dogs be good for you?
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A dog is definitely a person's best friend, and like all good friendships, it requires investment. Anyone who lives with dogs knows it’s required to take them out to walk even after a long day full of tasks, and even if it’s inconvenient, these walks are really good for your health. 

If you want to be even healthier, take your dog with you when you go to do exercise. It benefits both of you.

Yigal Lev, a sports therapist and accomplished fitness and sports coach, believes that dogs are training partners that will keep you safe, increase motivation and ensure that you don't get bored quickly. 

He says that in contrast to strength training and the routine aerobics that most of us do, working out with a dog over time significantly improves important motor skills that are affected as we grow older like agility, coordination, orientation in space, ability to throw something far away, change of direction and more. 

Also, Lev states that training with a dog forces the exerciser to be alert and sharp, and to work with and communicate with an animal that doesn’t speak its language.

 People run race with dogs alongside them. (credit: FLICKR) People run race with dogs alongside them. (credit: FLICKR)

Here are more reasons that will make you run with your dog to the park:

Security and safety

Confidence in ourselves and our ability to run and exercise at any hour even in open areas increases significantly when we train with our dog. Training with the dog helps people who work out early in the morning and/or in the late hours of darkness feel secure, along with nature lovers who run alone in an open field.

Motivation and persistence

Most exercisers deal with the question of motivation. How can one find the strength to get up before sunrise to run?

What will make us exercise after work hours? People persist in sports when they train with a dog that has to go for a walk to release energy.

Variety and fun

People who exercise regularly with a dog usually don’t stick to one sport.

A short run, a fast marathon, a long run, or even a 60-minute frisbee game at the beach where you can burn about 500 calories are just a few types of training. Most exercisers who diversify their sports do stay in shape for a longer period of time.

Not just for fitness

Studies show that people who own dogs are more sociable.

People who raise and train their dogs learn how to move towards a common goal together and communicate complex needs and messages. This helps those who train with dogs to increase their verbal and non-verbal communication abilities with humans as well.

Go work out, also for your dog

Dr. David Rosenblatt, a veterinarian on behalf of Biofit says that physical activity for dogs is essential for weight maintenance, ensuring joint flexibility and cardiopulmonary endurance. He adds that expending energy is essential for a dog’s mental state since dogs that don’t expend enough energy will get bored leading to behavioral disorders, especially destructive behaviors.

Rosenblatt added that the amount of exercise needed varies from dog to dog, but some guidelines can help plan your dog's daily activity.

If your dog has a specific medical problem, consult the vet regarding possible restrictions. If during exercise the dog shows signs of distress and/or limping, immediately stop and take the dog to a vet clinic for an urgent medical exam.

If you have a dog of a medium breed or above, avoid vigorous physical activity immediately after eating. A problem known as "gastric inversion" may occur in dogs that run around immediately after a meal when their stomachs are full of food. This is a life-threatening condition, so divide the daily amount of food into at least two meals and avoid vigorous physical activity right after your dog eats.

The amount of activity required per day depends on various factors, especially breed. The recommended duration of activity per day is between 30 and 120 minutes.