The benefits of exercising with your pet

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The benefits of exercising with your pet

The benefits of exercising with your pet

We all know exercise is what you need if you have Parkinson’s.  However, with Parkinson’s you also often have trouble mustering the motivation to exercise at all.   

If you have a pet, not only you miss out, but your pet also often misses out on quality time with you and their exercise.  Let’s solve the problem by exercising with and for each other.  

If you’re thinking about going for a run or walk, take your pet with you because both of you will benefit.   Regular workouts will help you and your pet maintain a healthy weight.    

Exercise will also help prevent other weight-related conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure for both of you.  Other benefits for you both are reducing the chances of stiff joints, arthritis, or hip dysplasia.  And of course, exercise improves the mental health of both humans and animals.  

You know how exercise can just put you in a good mood? It does the same for animals.  It’s been shown that aerobic exercise can increase serotonin production in not only your brain but your dog’s brain as well.  This helps them feel more relaxed and less aggressive.  

One of the best reasons to exercise with your pets is that you get a workout buddy!   Having a workout buddy can help keep you motivated even on days you’d rather stay in bed.  

Once you get in the habit of exercising with your dog, he or she is going to be waiting excitedly by the door – possibly with leash ready.   Your dog will help push you out for a walk or run whether you want to or not.  You won’t get a more dedicated workout buddy!   

One study discovered that dog owners were 34 percent more likely to get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week than those without a dog.    

There are loads of options to vary your pet-buddy workout.  You could go kayaking, paddleboarding, Nordic walking, walking on the beach, by a lake, or in the park.  Take a ball or Frisbee so that you can both play fetch to break up your workout. 

Make sure to consider both you and your pet’s health and fitness ability.  Can your dog keep up with you, or can you keep up with your dog?   

Keep both of you safe and drink lots of water, wear sunscreen and both of you take a break when needed.   Dogs can dehydrate and overheat just the same as we can.  Look out for excessive panting or drooling.   

Try and go early in the morning in summer before it gets too hot.  This will also stop your dog’s feet from burning from hot pavement. 

If you can’t get out of the house to get in your workout, try a home workout.   There are even yoga classes for you and your dog.   

Sit ups at home are great for whatever pet you have.  A co-operative cat or dog can be held and used as added weight or you can throw a treat each time you raise your head and shoulders and hopefully your pet will return to you for another. 

Squats or lunges are great if your pet is obliging.  Hold them in your arms and bend your knees up and down.  Repeat as many times as your pet allows. 

Doing a push-up is very similar to the body language of animals when they want to play.  Front paws lower than their rear and a great tail wag.   Your push-up can be the same.  Or train them to sit on your back to add a challenge to your push-ups 

Make sure you end with stretches; your pet will be right there with you.   

Ensure you and your pet get a check-up from the vet and GP to say you’re both good to go.   

Do yourself and your best friend a favour and exercise together! 

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