This week’s Monday Motivation comes via Talia Tugman, owner of Bite Size Wellness.
Getting gymspiration from friends, seeking encouragement on Twitter and watching a few episodes of the Biggest Loser are usually enough to get me off the couch, but the biggest form of fitness social support comes from an unlikely source: my furry, four-legged companion Faith.
Having Faith has definitely positively influenced my exercise routine (especially when the weather is full of sun-shining days). The fitness benefits of having a dog start with the fact that I will always rack up some extra mileage in my day because the pup needs to get out of my cramped NYC apartment, rain or shine. This means I am bound to get some extra steps in no matter what. Oh, and did I mention, I live on a 5th floor walk-up? Feel the burn baby…even if it is just for a potty break. And don’t even get me started on carrying large bags of dog food up the 5 flights!
Dogs are excellent workout partners because their enthusiastic wagging tail and excited energy will never dwindle. I mean, if I got as pumped up about just looking at my running shoes as Faith did from seeing a leash I would NEVER skip a day at the gym. The effortless enthusiasm that she always brings to the table when it comes to getting out the door is inspiring to say the least. Dogs have energy to burn and instinctively seem to know the importance of physical activity as a part of their lifestyle. Talk about learning a lesson from man’s best friend. Surely we should all get such joy out of daily fitness and a little game of fetch.
In truth, my past of training for a half marathon would not have been the same without the pup. On days when I just wasn’t feeling the idea of running my mind was instantly changed when I came into my apartment and looked into those eyes. The thought of letting myself down AND my dog was too much to handle! By the end, I think my sprinter dog may have rolled her eyes when the leash came out and I told her that today was a 10-miler, but no matter what she hit the road with me…complaint free! Another perk of having a dog as a fitness buddy is while your BFF or significant other can get busy and spew out excuses, rover would do no such thing. In fact, a recent study from the New York Times went as far as to say that a having a canine in the house beats out the latest home exercise equipment. And, according to Reuters, having a companion animal makes you 66% more likely to get you walking (and at a faster pace). When you are committed to your hound, you are also committing to your own physical activity.
If you want your pet to go from sofa sniffer to trail dog, consider these tips to get your pup started off on the right paw:
• Don’t let your dog run you. Running with rover will be a much better experience if he or she is not yanking your arm off to smell the flowers or become overly fascinated by a squirrel. Start off walking and invest time in heel training before sprinting full speed ahead.
• Dogs need preparation too, so don’t expect that because you conquered running 4 miles in 30 minutes that your pro-lounger can automatically keep up with you. Take it slow and work up to higher mileage and speed.
• Just like you, your pooch will appreciate an established exercise routine. If you are a morning runner and feel like sleeping in your pup will practically beg you to get out of bed based on the habits you set. No need to self-motivate!
• When running with rover, be sure to carry water. Dogs can overheat easily and do not sweat so bring some water along to help them cool down.
• Praise your furry friend for making it through an exhausting run so that she will know that she did a great job. Okay…go ahead and shower yourself with compliments too while you are at it.
The biggest reward you can receive is feeling good after your sweat session and seeing your dog crash on the living room rug. One thing is for sure, giving Faith her daily exercise makes me a proud (fit) owner. So the next time you are in need of fitness motivation just think about dogs and their effortless gusto for fitness. It’s sure to get you lacing up your shoes in no time!
For the cat lovers, aside from leashing up your meow-er, just think about how excited your feline friend gets to rub up on your sweaty work out pants…or not? Maybe we need to work at the whole cat as a fitness partner thing at another time☺
Does your pet motivate you to work out?
Talia Tugman lives in New York City with her nearly new husband. In an effort to be in touch with living a healthy lifestyle in a new city, Talia is sharing enlightened wellness living information with others served in bite size portions on her blog BiteSizeWellness.com.