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A new commitment to adopt healthier habits, drop pounds and work out can be a major lifestyle change. And partnering up with a workout buddy can help you stay on track. If finding a friend to workout with is challenging, consider teaming up with your furry best friend to get you both in shape. Here are a few ways you and your pup can start a healthy regimen together.
Not only do you and your dog share a connection, but you most likely share lifestyle habits, too. If you like to stay active, you're more likely to keep your dog active, too. If you lounge on the couch with a snack after work, your pet is most likely snoozing at your side.
The health of you and your dog are linked, which is why your pup deserves to be part of your weight loss journey too. Cesar Milan, dog behaviorist guru, and Jillian Michaels, a health and wellness expert, agree that exercising with your dog also builds a stronger relationship. Interval running, hill walks or hiking are excellent ways to not only get moving, but bond while outdoors. And as you start to develop a daily/weekly routine, your pooch will begin to expect these bonding rituals and workouts.
Along with being a motivator, dogs make great yoga companions. "Doga" is the practice of yoga with dogs, and it offers a myriad of physical and mental benefits, like improved posture, improved sleep and stress relief. For your pup, engaging in poses can increase circulation, improve range of motion and relax him from any hyperactivity. Mindfulness and a focus on the present also enhances your bond, like regular activity together. For fun socialization, invite family or friends and their furbabies to join you in puppy paw mudra, chaturanga and savasana.
During a new weight loss regimen, giving up sweet treats can really test your willpower. And your pup is sure to experience withdrawal from delicious biscuits, too. Allow yourself and your pet to indulge in your cravings — in moderation. Baking homemade sweets is a healthier dessert option. Recipes like Chocolate Fudge Brownie Overnight Dessert Oatsrequires healthier ingredients like chocolate whey protein, natural sweetener and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Of course, don’t forget about satisfying the sweet tooth of your pup, too. Baking Apple Crunch Pupcakes will surely have that tail wagging.
Now that you and your pup are in this health and fitness journey together, you can both start to track your progress. Rather than relying on the scale or mirror as your metric, gain real insight with high-tech wearables like the Apple Watch Sport for you and FitBark for your furkid.
FitBark, a dog activity and sleep monitor, attaches to your dog's collar to gather data that you both can use to make better health decisions as a team. As you log workouts and check activity rings from your wrist, you can also track your pet's activity, behavior, sleep and barkpoints. By analyzing your dog's daily results, you can set and achieve health goals, curb poor behavior, catch signs of sickness, monitor medical issues and more.
Without a pet? Find a four-legged running partner at a local animal shelter. Not only can jogging alongside a dog make your workout more fun, but volunteering to exercise with an adoptable pet will brighten both of your days. Miles & Mutts, a program that works with adoptable shelter dogs, offers a list of shelter dog running programs that may exist in your area from Pennsylvania to Texas. And imagine, as you burn calories and get that heartrate pumping, you’ll help a pup confined to a kennel unleash pent-up energy and alleviate anxiety. You may even find your running sidekick a new home — with you.