5 Creative Ways To Exercise With Your Dog

There’s no question that pets are good for our health, helping to do everything from lower blood pressure to lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression. One recent study from the American Psychological Association even found that just thinking about a cherished animal improved the emotional well-being of a pet owner just as much as thinking about a cherished friend did. 
Here are five ways to make a workout more fun for you and your pet:
Morning Walk    
A brisk daily walk can do wonders for your immune system, cardiovascular health and weight management, but it can be hard to find the motivation to get moving each morning. Use your dog’s unflagging energy and need to get outdoors as motivation to move quickly from your house to the park.

A recent Michigan State University study found that people who owned and walked dogswere 34 percent more likely to get the amount of daily exercise they need, according to a university release.

“The findings suggest public health campaigns that promote the responsible ownership of a dog along with the promotion of dog walking may represent a logical opportunity to increase physical activity,” epidemiologist and study author Matthew Reeves said in a statement. 
Agility Training 
This organized, competitive sport, in which dogs are judged on speed and agility as they complete obstacle courses, is also a good workout for the trainer. In order to usher your pet through a new routine, you’ll have to run alongside offering command words and treats for a job well done. Your dog will improve strength and coordination while you both get a cardiovascular workout.  
Dog yoga, or doga, is a type of Hatha practice that incorporates massage, stretching and relaxation for both pet and pet owner. Many yoga enthusiasts dismiss the practice, but practitioners of doga say that a class can help them de-stress and feel connected to their pups. 
Skijor is an amalgam of cross-country skiing and mushing, in which a person cross-country skis with a dog harnessed to him. The team effort — the dog pulls forward while the person uses skis and polls to keep momentum going — results in great distance and speed. 

A snow-free version of the s
port, canicross, refers to a cross-country runner who is harnessed to a dog. Both are recognized by the International Sled Dog Racing Associationand clubs exist all over the country and in Europe, where both sports are more popular.
Canine Freestyle Dancing
If the measurable weight loss of Dancing with the Stars contestants is any measure to go by, ballroom dancing is a major workout. But the species of your partner has nothing to do with burning calories and improving endurance, strength and flexibility — so why not cha-cha with FiFi?

Several organizations, including the World Canine Freestyle Organization and Musical Dog Sport Association can help you find classes.

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